Service user organizations in Norway
There are an increasing number of user organizations in Norway. The organizations of disabled people have the longest history. Already in 1950 an umbrella organization of organizations of disabled people was established. Today more than 70 organizations representing more than 330 000 members are collected beneath this “umbrella”.
However, two of the biggest organizations, The Association for Persons with Physical Impairments and The Association for Persons with Developmental Disabilities are standing outside the umbrella organization. Later, organizations for persons with mental health problems and drug problems have been established.
Historically the relationship between the user organizations and the state authorities has been characterized by dialogue and a high degree of harmony. Representatives for the organizations have been important actors in public committees and hearings. Such corporative marks are often described in literature as a characteristic with the Nordic welfare states. However, the organization “The Alliance for the welfare State” is recently established with a more distinct opposition against the authorities. Among its members are more than 30 trade unions, user organizations and other organizations.
Its goal is to fight privatization, de-regulation and market liberalism and to keep up a strong public welfare sector.
Norwegian national network
In May 2012 a Norwegian Network to promote user involvement in Social work education was established. The network is a national branch of PowerUs. Participants at the network meeting were representatives for many of the universities and university colleges educating social workers and representatives for the user organisations. A working committee for the network was elected and a web page for the network will be established in the near future where information from different projects will be collected. Contact person for the network is Liv Altmann at Lillehammer University College: email@example.com