61. Områdesprogrammet in Holma-Kroksbäck
61.1. Short description
We visited Holma-Kroksbäck, in the district of Hyllie, where the Head of the Department of Integration and Sustainable Development, is responsible for the programme, together with the programme coordinator. They are, together with a secretary and a business consultant, employed to work on Områdesprogrammet. Områdesprogrammet in Holma-Kroksbäck is not directed at the whole of Holma-Kroksbäck; instead it focuses on a certain area, i.e. the “Million Homes Programme areas”. Currently there are far reaching political plans for a new area within the district of Hyllie. These plans contain new housing, a sports arena and a shopping mall just around the corner from the Million Homes Programme area in Holma-Kroksbäck. There are also plans for a new swimming pool and ice skating rink in Holma and there is already a new and popular “theme” park for children.
According to the head of the programme, these projects could help to gradually change the identity of the area, making it more attractive to its inhabitants and others The interviewees speak of these new plans as a possible “engine”, and they want to make sure that the people in the Million Homes Programme area also gain from the ride when that motor accelerates and charges off (interview 1).
61.2. Conception and ways of addressing users
One way of describing the conceptions of Områdesprogrammet in Holma-Kroksbäck is to look at the area-specific problems that they try to find solutions to. The Million Homes Programme area in Holma-Kroksbäck is inhabited by around 5,000 people (out of 32,000 in the total district of Hyllie). Problems that are mentioned in the interviews, include unemployment, poverty and low levels of education. The programme coordinator further describes the area as transit area for immigrants, who tend to leave as soon as they can get employment and/or housing elsewhere (interview 1). Possibly linked to the “transit area” is lack of a sense of security, which is an issue that Områdesprogrammet in Holma-Kroksbäck is investigating, along with Malmö University.
Områdesprogrammet in Holma-Kroksbäck aims to seek new ways of cooperation between different administrations and stakeholders, i.e. different departments within the city district organisation (for example the schools, libraries, JobbMalmö (the municipal employment office) or the municipal housing company, as well as the different service centres organised regionally and nationally, for example the local health care centres and the governmental employment office (AF). Områdesprogrammet also seeks cross-sectorial cooperation with private stakeholders as well as with different local civil society organisations, such as the Afghan Association (Afganska föreningen) and Active women in Hyllie (Aktiva kvinnor i Hyllie), Red Cross (Röda Korset) and Save the Children (Rädda Barnen). Malmö University is also involved in and cooperating specifically with Områdesprogrammet in Holma-Kroksbäck, for example, by conducting the survey mentioned above. Malmö University is also assisting Områdesprogrammet in identifying possible social innovations or innovative processes within the programme itself, which may strengthen the programme’s legitimacy at the policy level in Malmö.
Områdesprogrammet is seeking to address its “users”, i.e. the inhabitants of the Million Homes area in Holma-Kroksbäck, as partners and co-producers. One good example of this is a proposition from a local, young unemployed person who wanted to become a link between families and teachers in the school. This person wanted to set up homework classes after school for the students. He and two other persons from Holma were employed to conduct the suggested homework classes. The head of the programme believes that if they had employed ordinary teachers without the local connection, those homework classes would not have been as popular (interview 1).
Another example of the idea of reaching out to the people living in the area and to the local civil society is the process behind the Holma Info Centre. The administration of Områdesprogrammet in Holma-Kroksbäck had planned to open a new “citizen office” where locals could get information and citizens’ advice. Two civil servants were employed to serve in the office, which was located in the library in one of the schools; “we thought of having representatives there from for example the different administrations, as well as politicians that could come to meet and talk to the people. It was a great idea and we opened with a nice ceremony, but no one came. After a year we had had 10 visitors in total” (interview 1). During the same period, a civil society organisation called Active Women in Hyllie (Aktiva kvinnor i Hyllie) planned to start an activity similar to a “citizen office”, in a venue that had already been arranged by them, through the local public housing company MKB. Aktiva kvinnor asked for support and it was decided that this was a good initiative to support, and that the recently opened office instead would be closed. One of the women – a long-term unemployed woman – from the association was employed in the office. After 3 weeks the new Info Centre had served 30 clients, which was 300 per cent more than what had been accomplished by the “civil servant project” in 1 year (interview 1).
The Info centre was strategically placed within the library administration, to make sure that it would remain in municipal administration even after 2015 when Områdesprogrammet will end. The head of the programme states that this is the way they will generally try to work, i.e. not making projects dependent on the Områdesprogrammet, but independent and sustainable over time. The idea now is that the person who is employed in the Info Centre is supposed to give local service to the citizens there. In practice, this could mean answering questions about education, giving information on making applications and filling in the right kind of forms, translating letters and information from different institutions, or helping people surf the internet for information regarding, for example, their rights or institutional procedures. The Info Centre can also help to direct people’s questions to the right institution, be it the job centre or the tax administration office or something else. Both the municipal and the national employment offices have representatives at the Info Centre a few hours a week.
At the time of the study, there were far-reaching plans to open another Info Centre in Kroksbäck and this one will be organised by Afghanska föreningen (the Afghan Association) with the support of Områdesprogrammet, which will provide education and start-up advice. Here, however, the aim is not to “take over” the business and to employ somebody under the municipal administration, but to let the association take full responsibility for the centre.
61.3. Internal organisation and modes of working
Områdesprogrammet in Holma-Kroksbäck tends to reach out and support local initiatives. In some cases, it can act as a support structure for new ideas, providing start-up education, material and contacts as in the ongoing process with the Info Centre in Kroksbäck. In other cases, it co-produces these ideas and employs long-term unemployed people as in the Holma Info Centre and in the initiative with the homework classes in school. Generally speaking, Områdesprogrammet is seeking local answers to local problems, and uses already existing infrastructures provided by the citizens themselves or by the civil society organisations. There is also a tendency to welcome voluntary work, for example through the Red Cross.
61.4. Impact on the governance of local welfare systems
The general idea of Områdesprogrammet is to challenge the municipal administrations to think and work in a cross-administrational way in cooperation with each other for the benefit of the areas where they work. Clearly, on the very local level, as for example in Holma-Kroksbäck, the programme also aims to work in a cross-sectorial manner, when it reaches out to find and support local initiatives among citizens and in civil society. Områdesprogrammet in Holma-Kroksbäck is arguing for political reform concerning social considerations in procurements, when for example the municipality is closing deals with building companies. However, this strategy is already used on a small scale by Områdesprogrammet themselves when they employ persons from the neighbourhood. This can give a double positive outcome of increasing the work force statistics and enabling one individual to be employed, as well as acknowledging one locally situated person as a resource when it comes to connections to the local community.
The example of the Info Centre in Holma is also interesting in the way that its organisation has been passed to the library administration, for the sake of sustainability. That move has had spin off-effects on the library as well. New groups of visitors have been introduced to the library, because of their contact with the Info Centre (the employee at the Info Centre is also working 1 day a week at the library), and a more general discussion about the citizen service aspect of the library service in itself is taking place, resulting in new and challenging questions being asked about responsibility and professional qualifications when it comes to serving vulnerable groups (interview 2).