Collaborative Governance and Public Innovation in Northern Europe

Overcoming Conflicting Logics of Care and Justice: Collaborative Innovation in Dealing with Habitual Offenders in the Netherlands

Author(s): Hendrik Wagenaar, Joost Vos, Corine Balder and Bert van Hemert

Pp: 111-131 (21)

DOI: 10.2174/9781681080130115010009

* (Excluding Mailing and Handling)


Dutch cities suffer from the behaviour of a small group of treatment-resistant serious habitual offenders. This situation challenges service coordination between municipal authorities, and representatives from care and criminal justice systems. In the last decade Dutch government introduced the Veiligheidshuis (Safety House) as a platform for managing the above safety issues; a network environment for coordinating social care and criminal justice interventions in the realm of crime and security. This study aims to analyse the nature of the problem of persistent lack of service coordination and the value of the introduction of the Veiligheidshuis. The collaboration with in the Veiligheidshuis in two cities was studied and the service career of six of the most persistent habitual offenders was followed and discussed with the concerned professionals and teams. In this action research grounded theory was used to analyse data from interviews and observations. This study demonstrates how the practical work of dealing with habitual offenders is afflicted by conflicting logics of care and criminal justice. Conflicting cultures, diametrically opposed organizational structures and poorly connecting professional domains result in fragmented and often ineffective interventions towards habitual offenders. This study also demonstrates that cross-sector collaboration in a dense network of agencies to help bridge the gap between divergent professional sectors is possible. The innovation of the Veiligheidshuis leads to the development of a collaborative framework for action and the creation of various coordination mechanisms. These in turn stimulated the timely sharing of information, and the development of mutual trust and support. As a practical result from this study case management meetings were redesigned in a recursive way. Thus the effectiveness of these meetings as a management tool was greatly enhanced.

Keywords: Conflicting logics, organisational innovation, coordination, collaboration, habitual offenders, criminal justice sector, care sector, Veiligheidshuizen.

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