Activation Policies and the Protection of Individual Rights
A Critical Assessment of the Situation in Denmark, Finland and Sweden
In Denmark, Finland and Sweden the evolution of administrative law, including social welfare law, has been marked by a shift towards a stronger protection of the recipient's individual rights. The adoption of activation policies targeting recipients of social assistance has highlighted the tensions between decision-making concerning the implementation of these policies and the legislative efforts to promote the realisation of individual rights in the field of social welfare. An examination of the legislation in question and its implementation conditions shows that the realisation of individual rights is subordinated to the pursuit of organisational and other objectives. The findings of the study are used to formulate proposals for the promotion of individual rights based on the Nordic egalitarian model of citizenship. This critical assessment of activation policies should be of broad international appeal. It will be of interest to researchers in social policy, as well as those concerned with protection of rights.
Table of Contents
Contents: Preface; Basic framework of the study; Active social policy and individual rights in Finland; Activation measures and individual rights in Sweden; Activation measures and individual rights in Denmark; The implementation process and individual rights; The significance of individual rights and ways to promote their implementation; Conclusions; Bibliography; Index.
Paul Van Aerschot (LLD) is senior lecturer in social welfare law at the University of Helsinki. He has studied law in Belgium and Finland. After having worked in the Finnish civil service he engaged in an academic career. His research focuses on the rights of disadvantaged clients in the restructured welfare state.
'This original and timely book, by an author who is equally committed to the pursuit of social policy goals and the protection of human rights, not only shows how activation programmes in Denmark, Finland and Sweden put the rights of vulnerable people at risk but also outlines how this situation should be tackled. It contains some extremely important lessons for countries like the UK, where the legal protection of human rights is considerably weaker than it is in Scandinavia.' Michael Adler, University of Edinburgh, UK 'This book carefully explores the implications of activation policies employed in three Nordic states for the relationship between state authority and the rights and status of unemployed citizens. By also focussing on individual rights and administrative justice more broadly, the author offers interesting and original insights into the tensions inherent in the role of the law in executive decision making on individual welfare claims.' Neville Harris, University of Manchester, UK 'Van Aerschot has written an important book about the relationship between state authorities and citizens at the margins of the Nordic welfare states. The author is committed to the analysis of the individual rights of the unemployed in Denmark, Finland and Sweden.' European Journal of Social Security