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NAV’s IW Support Centres must be better utilised in IW work

The Norwegian Labour and Welfare Service’s (NAV) Inclusive Workplace Support Centres do not prioritise enterprises facing the greatest challenges in their Inclusive Workplace (IW) efforts. Cooperation with the local NAV offices in this area is not good enough. ‘The work of the IW support centres must be more targeted and coordinated. The NAV system must follow this up more than it does at present,’ says Auditor General Jørgen Kosmo.
Published 9/24/2009 12:30 PM

Document No 3:15 (2008-2009) The Office of the Auditor General’s investigation into NAV’s efforts to promote Inclusive Workplaces through Inclusive Workplace Support Centres and adaptation grants was submitted to the Storting on 24 September.

The IW support centres were established in early 2002 as a result of the Inclusive Workplace Agreement (the IW Agreement). Their primary task is to support IW enterprises’ own efforts to prevent sickness absence and a transition to passive benefit schemes.

The investigation shows that the IW support centres do not provide more assistance to enterprises with high sickness absence than to enterprises with low sickness absence. This means that the support centres only to a limited extent target the enterprises that are facing the biggest challenges in their IW work. Cooperation with the local NAV offices should be improved, both as regards securing work training places for persons with impaired work ability (IW places) and prioritising which enterprises receive assistance.

Despite the fact that the Storting in 2007 and 2008 allocated a total of NOK 50 million to new jobs in the IW support centres, the investigation shows that the centres have not been strengthened as intended.

The investigation also shows that many IW enterprises are satisfied with the assistance they receive from the IW support centres in connection with their work on sickness absence, but that the centres have not succeeded in getting employers to improve their recruitment of persons with impaired work ability. The IW enterprises have offered many work training places for persons with impaired ability to work, but NAV has not utilised these IW places.

Enterprises can qualify for grants for adaptation of the workplace aimed at preventing sickness absence or for adaptations aimed at enabling persons with impaired work ability to remain in employment. The investigation shows that many enterprises with high sickness absence do not apply for adaptation grants. This allocation is also under-utilised.‘NAV should get more enterprises to initiate measures for employees who are, or are at risk of becoming, absent due to illness,’ says Jørgen Kosmo.

The Ministry of Labour and Social Inclusion states that it will use the investigation to further develop policy instruments in the IW area, including reviewing the administration of adaptation grants, the IW support centres’ reporting of results, the IW place scheme and cooperation between the IW support centres and local NAV offices. 

Follow the link to the right for summary of the report. The document, in Norwegian, can be ordered from Akademika bookshop, tel. + 47 800 80 960 /+ 47 22 18 81 00. The deferral of public access to documents prepared by or for the Office of the Auditor General in connections with Doc. no 3:15 (2008-2009), cf. the Act relating to the Office of the Auditor General section 18 second paragraph, is hereby set aside.

 Contact person

Director General Therese Johnsen,
phone: + 47 22 24 11 74,
mobile phone: 911 52 826

Riksrevisjonen, Storgata 16, P.O. Box 6835 St. Olavs plass, 0130 Oslo, Norway

Phone: +47 22 24 10 00 974 760 843