The final report of the Nordic Welfare Watch has been published. This is a report in the „TemaNord“ series, which is devoted to the outcome of working groups or projects organized by the Nordic Council of Ministers. The Nordic Welfare Watch was a research and leadership programme during the Icelandic presidency of the Nordic Council of Ministers in 2014. The programme period was from 2014–2017. The goals of the programme were to find better ways to measure and monitor citizens’ welfare, to explore the role of welfare states and government policy measures in mitigating the effects of financial crises in different societies, with special emphasis on the Nordic welfare societies and to examine how well municipal social services in the Nordic societies were implemented in the Emergency Management systems, map the known risks that the Nordic welfare system could face in coming years and evaluate what challenges they pose for local social services.
Extensive reports have been published on behalf of the programme, and their main findings are discussed in the final report . Two main proposals are also discussed wich have been in a formal procedure under the Nordic Council of Ministers, one to establish a Nordic Welfare Forum and the other to publish a set of Nordic Welfare Indicators (NOVI) that can be used for Nordic surveillance and policy formulation in the social and health care field. The programme consisted of three main projects:
1. Nordic Welfare Watch – in Response to Crisis
Evaluate the experience and lessons learned from the Welfare Watch set up in Iceland following the bank crisis. Examinate how well municipal social services in the Nordic societies were implemented in the Emergency Management systems and to map the known risks that the Nordic welfare system could face in coming years and evaluate what challenges they pose for local social services. Project leader, Guðný Björk Eydal, Professor at the Faculty of Social Work, University of Iceland. Project Manager, Ingibjörg Lilja Ómarsdóttir, University of Iceland.
2. Welfare Consequences of Financial Crises
Draw lessons from present and past experiences of financial crises on the welfare and well-being of the affected nations. The focus of the project is on policy reactions to crises and how successful or unsuccessful they were, particularly with reference to how well and quickly the nations recovered from crisis conditions and how the welfare and well-being of nationals were affected by the crisis itself and the policy measures aimed at tackling it. Oxford University Press has accepted to publish a book emerging from this project, provisionally titled Welfare and the Great Recession. Project leader, Stefán Ólafsson, Professor at the Faculty of Social and Human Sciences, University of Iceland. Project Manager, Agnar Freyr Helgason, University of Iceland.
3. Nordic Welfare Indicators
Develop an easily accessible system of comparative Nordic welfare indicators to be used for analyses of national policies and to see if and how policies have been successful in mitigating the social consequences of a crisis. Furthermore it is seen as a tool to enhance the possibilities of planning and decision-making based on knowledge in times of changes , independent of whether the changes stem from man-made or natural challenges. Welfare indicators need to monitor outcomes for individual welfare in order to promote evidence-based planning and innovation. The indicators need to address major risks and challenges that the Nordic societies face now and in the foreseeable future. Project leader, Sigríður Jónsdóttir, Ministry of Welfare, Iceland. Project Manager, Håkan Nyman, Ministry of Health and Social Affairs, Sweden.