The aim of collaboration in municipal public sector is to ensure welfare and safety for its citizen, as well as to ensure economic sustainability in the municipality. Different forms of collaboration in the public sector can be an important part of sustaining a satisfactory service, especially in regions with a declining population, but also to give a faster and better service in all kind of regions. In this study we put focus on collaboration between municipal rescue service and home-help service, a collaboration that can be placed in civil and societal contingency and preparedness for unexpected events.
Both the rescue service and the home-help service are highly gendered sectors. The point of departure for this study is that the gender coding of occupations and competences lay down conditions for the collaboration, why it is important to shed light on these codings and how they effect an effective collaboration and sustainable implementation. Our understanding is that gender is a social construction that is produced and reproduced through interaction. This construction have effect on how we are “made” as men and women, how we are formed as individuals, and how the society is both symbolic and structurally organized around what is conceived and perceived as male and female duties, occupations and places.
The results of this study build on 30 interviews with staff in rescue services and home-care services (both employees and heads of these services). The results show that collaborations differ between municipalities, both what is included in the collaboration and how it is staged and performed, and that the processes of collaboration are complex and that they challenge ideal of organization, contents, responsibilities and who or whom should do different work tasks. We can see that conceptions of gender in male and female dominated work are often reproduced and reinforced in many of the studied cases, which hinder an effective service. But we can also notice that the collaboration by home-care service staff is perceived as a possibility for increased status and better resources when they collaborate with the rescue service.