Recommendations for division of tasks

Talentia is currently reviewing, on behalf of the Government, how to allocate the competences provided by different degrees and qualifications between various social welfare functions in order to respond to the clients’ needs in the best possible way, and how to fully utilise the competence provided by training in order to ensure the clients’ right to legal protection and their statutory right to good-quality service. Talentia supports reforming the division of labour on the basis of service and competence needs, but is critical of dividing tasks on the basis of economic and availability criteria. Any reform should be based on the clients’ service needs. Framework conditions for the division of labour are also set by current legislation.

National recommendations on the division of labour are being prepared by a dedicated section set up by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, where Talentia is represented. The section’s work is supported by Talentia’s Advisory Board in Professional Matters, tasked e.g. with preparing Talentia’s recommendations on an effective way to divide tasks in workplaces.

Have a look at the series of slides on the legislative framework conditions for the division of labour, assembled by Talentia. It can be used as a reference and basis for discussions on the division of tasks in working communities. Talentia has also prepared a four-stage model for implementing the division of labour.

Four steps to efficient division of labour in the social welfare field

A lot of good follows from a well-devised division of labour in social services workplaces. The clients receive good-quality services, the employees cooperate smoothly and wellbeing at work increases. It is therefore wise to carefully plan the way in which tasks are divided between professionals at a workplace. It is impossible to formulate a one-size-fits-all model for the division of labour, because each working community is different. The following steps will help you on the way, however.

1. The client comes first

Planning the division of labour always starts with the client. The main aim is to determine how clients can be provided with the best possible service and how to secure their interests. This is why professionals need to examine their client base. What are the clients and their needs like? How many are they? Do they have special needs? The requirements imposed on client work by the Social Welfare Act and the special acts on social welfare also need to be considered.

2. Focus on competence

The next step is to examine the knowledge and skills present in the working community. Is the expertise of different professionals utilised as efficiently as possible in view of the clients’ needs? Some professionals may feel they need additional training. Some may realise their salary is not in line with the complexity of their tasks. This is a good moment to divide tasks in a way that allows the optimal use of everyone’s competence and to provide additional training for those who wish it. It is also a good idea to consider how to allocate tasks in a way that promotes the professionals’ wellbeing at work.

3. Maintain your skills

Congratulations: you have laid the foundation for the division of labour! The working and operational environments keep changing, however, which means that you need to make constant use of clients’ feedback and knowledge. The working community should get together and reflect on the type of competence the change requires and how to prepare for it. Management too needs to be considered. The director of social welfare services must hold a relevant university degree, be familiar with the sector and have management skills.

4. Monitor and assess work

It is advisable to regularly monitor and assess work. The working community should agree on how and when to assess the effects of the division of labour. It is a way to ensure that clients continue to receive good-quality services and that the division of tasks does not cause problems.

Read more:

Promoting human rights by developing the division of labour between highly educated social welfare professionals (pdf) (in Finnish)


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