New tool calculates the benefits of preventing social exclusion

29 May 2019

It pays off to invest in people. That is the conclusion after a new tool has been put to use, making it possible to calculate how much it pays off to prevent social exclusion. The tool has been developed by KS, the Norwegian Association of Local and Regional Authorities, with Ramboll delivering the economic calculations.

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Want to know more about Utenfor-regnskapet?

Read more about the tool here. (In Norwegian)

The new tool is called Utenfor-regnskapet – loosely translated to “Not accounted for”. It is designed to give the public sector a better overview of the economic positive impacts of doing preventive measures. More technical, it is an economic tool that calculates the potential benefit of succeeding in getting more children and young people through education, into the labour market and ensuring everyone is a part of the community. 

The tool shows how the economic benefit of reducing social exclusion is distributed among different levels of governance and sectors. The hope is to be able to intervene and offer help earlier than the case is now, and hence give more people a good life, and to give children and young people better conditions for a good life in the future.

- Too many of our young people end up on the edge of society. The problem is that we often act when it is too late and that our actions do not work as they were supposed to. We hope that Utenfor-regnskapet will contribute to a change so what is currently seen as an expense instead will be seen as an investment in people, says Gunn Marit Helgesen, chairman of KS. 

A tool in the budget battle

The human consequences of not being able to be a part of the community are enormous and cannot be summed up in any numbers or figures. But it is hard to be compelling without specific numbers. This is now made possible with the new tool – a huge step in the right direction. 

Behind the tool, there are extensive economic calculations and analysations of data in a way that has never been done before in Norway. But it is necessary; according to KS, it is often seen how preventive measures are the big loser in the budget battle. With the Utenfor-regnskapet-tool, it can now be shown how much society can potentially save by preventing instead of repairing. 

Ramboll Management Consulting’s social economist Knut Johannes Liland Hartveit explains that the making of Utenfor-regnskapet has been challenging and educational, but most of all rewarding. To make this tool, there has been drawn on many different competencies from Ramboll, like economic and technical expertise and finally Ramboll’s deep knowledge from the social and municipality sector. 

- With Utenfor-regnskapet, municipalities and other stakeholders, have a much better foundation for switching from “repairing” to “preventing” social exclusion, says Knut Johannes Liland Hartveit. 

Local priorities to ensure the good life  

Utenfor-regnskapet is developed in close cooperation with KS’ members to ensure that the tool is relevant for practitioners. The tool is expected to give municipalities the opportunity to make new priorities and decisions locally. It also provides a better basis for dialogue and local political discussions. And we already see the benefits in practice: 

- During the development process, we have had a close collaboration with KS and some selected municipalities to make sure the model is user friendly and has a low barrier of use. We have already gotten feedback on how useful it is from municipalities who have tried it, so that is great, Knut Johannes Liland Hartveit explains. 

This is not the first time Ramboll has provided municipalities with a tool. Recently, Ramboll helped the Danish Parliament's 2030-panel with a baseline and dashboard for UN's Sustainable Development Goal #11. Read more about the project here.

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