Monday, 26 August 2013

IEA Conference

Listening to Karin Svanborg - Sjovall, Swedish Welfare expert on the issue of welfare, care and education and the Swedish model of provision of these services. Also listening to the second speaker, Dr Andre Alves, from the Institute for Political Studies and an advisor to the Portuguese government.
Both make the case that there is much to learn from the Swedish model, but that it is not a perfect "supermodel".
Interestingly, Karin makes the point that the trade union movement was initially very sceptical against the private provision of the former public sector providers in these sectors. So far not very surprising. A similar experience would be found in the UK down the years. However, as Karin makes clear some of the trade union movement in Sweden then became the strong supporters of this change and actually drove it forward. The union bosses found that its members / workers enjoyed the freedoms and control that came with a private provider, were incentivised and earnt more, and did not want to return to a monolithic public state model. As a result the union movement harangued the Social Democratic Party into more private provision not less. A lesson for us in the UK? Do former union member state school teachers who now work in a free school or academy want to go back to the old model?