Collaboration and quality in municipal services for children, youth, and their families (The SKO- study)

Image caption Illustrationphoto of a family holding hands

Collaboration and quality in municipal services for children, young people and their families (SKO-study)

About the project:

Some of the research questions include:
  • How satisfied are parents with the services provided, and what are their opinions on specific aspects such as information, participation, care, and collaboration between different services?
  • Which organizational factors are associated with better service quality?
  • What is the importance of the team climate among professionals for the quality of services provided to children and their families?
  • Which factors contribute to job satisfaction and engagement, and what leads to stress and burnout among the employees?
  • Is there an association between employees' experience of their work (engagement and burnout) and the quality of services?
  • What creates a culture of quality?

What aspects will be examined?

In the study, we investigate various factors related to service quality in municipal services aimed at children, young people, and their families. This includes services provided by family centers/Family houses or organized in other ways within the municipality. We include services such as prenatal care, health centres for children 0-5, educational psychological counselling services (PPT), child welfare services, open kindergartens, and other services. The survey was conducted nationwide, and municipalities were recruited between 2014 and 2018. The project as a whole took place three years after the last recruitment.

An important part of the SKO study is to assess how employees perceive their work, collaboration, leadership, and the quality of services provided. We will also take a closer look at factors such as burnout and job engagement. Additionally, we will determine if there is a connection between employees' and users' assessments of the service offerings. The SKO study included both an employee survey and a user survey.

Study conduction

The SKO-study took place over several years, from 2014 to 2020, and is conducted using questionnaires for leaders, employees, and parents. In total, 33 municipalities have participated in the SKO study. The SKO study no longer recruits new municipalities. See the list of participating municipalities.

Employee survey

The target group for this survey was employees working in services for children and young people, including professionals, managers, and administrative staff. The survey was conducted using an electronic questionnaire, with most municipalities completing the form only once, although some municipalities were asked to participate multiple times. Employees at family centers were followed over a 3-year period.

User survey 

A survey was also conducted among parents using the following services: health centres for children 0-5, child welfare services, educational psychological counselling services (PPT), open kindergartens, prenatal care, and a general questionnaire for other services for children and young people, such as physiotherapy/occupational therapy, child rehabilitation, parental counselling, etc. 

National and international research partners

There are 3 Ph.D. candidates associated with the SKO-study, working on the analysis of both qualitative and quantitative data. Research partners include other Regional Centres for Child and Youth RKBU Central Norway, RKBU West-Norway & RBUP East and South, Professor Astrid Richardsen at BI Norwegian Business School, Professor Michael West at Lancaster University UK, and Researcher Marjatta Kekkonen at the University of Jyväskylä, Finland.


Mariann B. Hansen

Sabine Kaiser

Monica Martinussen


Mariann Bellika Hansen
Monica Martinussen