Diversity

Delivery of equal services takes into account that people are different and respects the diversity of the population. Services should be is equally accessible for all, and they should be of high quality. The municipality is working for the common good, and to meet residents and users with respect. For municipal employees, this means that we must know the users and understand that they may be different, in order to provide equitable services.

The expectation is that districts, departments and schools shall know their customers – adults, adolescents as well as children who use their services and programs. Users’ needs, experiences and views are important in the design and delivery of services. And to learn something about needs, experiences and views, we must be inquisitive and ask the right questions.

Discussions with users and getting their input, is the main mapping tool for health care professionals in our district. Through the Stork Groruddalen project the district has received help from researchers from the University of Oslo to map the health challenges of pregnant women in Groruddalen. The survey provided insight and knowledge that made it possible for health workers to better target their work. This resulted in better health care. It also formed the basis for efforts to improve public health in general in the city districts of Groruddalen.

A survey of today’s situation is the first step in the preparation of a situation analysis. Municipal managers and employees are expected to:

  • Ask the users and make use of user surveys
  • Check available statistics about users and the local population
  • Read what researchers have published
  • Invite NGOs to talks
  • Discuss services in focus groups or user councils

In an intercultural city like Oslo, it is particularly important to be familiar with users belonging to different categories of minorities. To become familiar with what these users think, feel and experience in meetings with municipal services, the managers are obliged to make an extra effort – to ensure that everyone are seen and heard.

All municipal services are expected to

  • Identify annually who persons and organizations that can speak for minorities
  • Map immigrant organizations who are active in the neighborhood

The situation analysis describes what the current situation is and what services, measures and adaptations that are critical to deliver equal services. Questions about discrimination and users’ ethnicity or sexual orientation are not important for all services in all situations and at all times. Sometimes it has great significance, other times it has nothing, or very little importance. It is the duty of each city district and agency to assess and analyze what is relevant and what are the challenges related to specific services, programs or measures.

The OXLO Secretariat in the Department of Business Development and Public Ownership and the Office for diversity and integration can arrange workshops with scientists, advocacy groups and immigrant community organizations, and assist in analysis and assessments. The Office for diversity and integration has an overview of immigrant associations and minority organizations, and others who work with integration. Read more about the project Stork in the city district of Stovner here and about diversity in the library of IMDI.