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Schuldhulpverlening: Knelpunten en dilemma’s van coördinatoren die vrijwilligers aansturen

Authors:

Jansje van Middendorp ,

Drs. Jansje van Middendorp is wetenschappelijk medewerker bij Stichting het R.C. Maagdenhuis en buitenpromovendus Sociologie aan de Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen. Haar onderzoeksgebied betreft ondersteuning door vrijwilligers aan mensen met administratieve en/of financiële problemen.
About Jansje
Drs. Jansje van Middendorp is wetenschappelijk medewerker bij Stichting het R.C. Maagdenhuis en buitenpromovendus Sociologie aan de Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen. Haar onderzoeksgebied betreft ondersteuning door vrijwilligers aan mensen met administratieve en/of financiële problemen.
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Maurice Gesthuizen,

Dr. Maurice Gesthuizen is universitair docent Sociologie aan de Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen. Zijn onderzoeksgebied betreft de oorzaken en gevolgen van economische kwetsbaarheid.
About Maurice
Dr. Maurice Gesthuizen is universitair docent Sociologie aan de Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen. Zijn onderzoeksgebied betreft de oorzaken en gevolgen van economische kwetsbaarheid.
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Roeland van Geuns

Dr. Roeland van Geuns is lector Armoede Interventies aan de Hogeschool van Amsterdam. Zijn onderzoeksgebied betreft armoedevraagstukken, schuldenproblematiek en werkloosheid/re-integratie.
About Roeland
Dr. Roeland van Geuns is lector Armoede Interventies aan de Hogeschool van Amsterdam. Zijn onderzoeksgebied betreft armoedevraagstukken, schuldenproblematiek en werkloosheid/re-integratie.
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Abstract

Schuldhulpverlening: Knelpunten en dilemma’s van coördinatoren die vrijwilligers aansturen 

De afgelopen jaren is het aantal huishoudens in Nederland met schulden toegenomen. Ook de hoogte van de gemiddelde schuld nam toe. Gemeenten hebben te maken met een groeiende schuldenproblematiek in omvang, maar ook in complexiteit. Sinds 2012 zijn gemeenten verantwoordelijk voor de regievoering op schuldhulpverlening. Ook op het gebied van zorg en welzijn zijn de afgelopen jaren veranderingen opgetreden in gemeentelijk beleid. Met de komst van de Wet maatschappelijke ondersteuning (Wmo) in 2007 zijn gemeenten verantwoordelijk voor een integraal aanbod aan ondersteuning en zorg, waarbij de nadruk ligt op participatie en eigen verantwoordelijkheid. In de zorg, welzijn en schuldhulpverlening wordt meer ingezet op het betrekken van vrijwilligers. Van lokale organisaties die vrijwilligers inzetten en van de coördinatoren die deze vrijwilligers aansturen en begeleiden, wordt meer gevraagd op het gebied van werving en inzet van vrijwilligers op verschillende terreinen en voor verschillende doelgroepen.


Thuisadministratieprojecten bieden ondersteuning door vrijwilligers aan mensen met administratieve en/of financiële problemen, met als doel toe te werken naar financiële zelfredzaamheid en/of het voorkomen van (grotere) financiële problemen. In dit artikel staat de onderzoeksvraag centraal: “Welke knelpunten en dilemma’s ervaren coördinatoren van Thuisadministratieprojecten, en in hoeverre komen die voort uit het huidige gemeentelijke beleid op het terrein van zorg, welzijn en integrale schuldhulpverlening?” Doel van het onderzoek was door inzicht te verkrijgen in problemen die coördinatoren ervaren en het leggen van de relatie met gemeentelijk beleid, aanbevelingen te kunnen doen om de dienstverlening, afstemming en samenwerking tussen gemeenten, beroepskrachten en vrijwilligers van lokale organisaties te verbeteren. De belangrijkste conclusie is dat coördinatoren naar afbakening van de grenzen van de ondersteuning zoeken: wat kan wel en niet worden gedaan door vrijwilligers en voor welke cliëntgroepen. In samenwerking en afstemming met de gemeente en beroepskrachten van andere organisaties moeten coördinatoren hierover afspraken maken.

 

Debt counselling: Problems and dilemmas faced by coordinators who manage volunteers

In recent years, the number of households in the Netherlands with debt problems has increased, as well as the average amount of debt per household. Since 2012, municipal authorities have been responsible for directing debt counselling programmes. Changes in municipal policy have also occurred in the fields of healthcare and welfare. Municipal authorities are now encouraging citizens to rely less on the facilities of the welfare state, and to look for solutions within their own social network first. Municipal authorities, organizations that provide debt counselling programmes and local organizations that recruit volunteers to support people with debt problems are having to deal with a growing number of people with debt problems and more complex problems.

 

Volunteers can be regarded either as a substitute for professionals, as providing support for professionals or as complementing the work of professionals. In times of economic hardship, volunteers are taking on more and more of the tasks of professionals. Volunteers are now playing a more prominent role as intermediaries between those receiving debt counselling and professional debt counsellors. The difference between volunteers and professionals has become increasingly indistinct. Within local organizations that recruit volunteers to provide support for debt problems, coordinators are responsible for the primary process, for providing high quality support for clients with debt problems, and for supervising and coaching volunteers. For them, the developments described have resulted in a greater need for compromise between municipal policies, the wishes and needs of volunteers, and those who finance debt counselling (generally the municipal authority) and other organizations that provide debt counselling programmes.


“Financial self-management projects” (Dutch: thuisadministratie) involve support provided by volunteers for those experiencing administrative and/or financial problems, with the aim of achieving financial independence and/or preventing the escalation of their financial problems. Volunteers in financial self-management projects are coached by coordinators from a welfare or volunteer organization, a social services institute, or a foundation. The available literature discusses the problems and dilemmas experienced by volunteers and professionals, including how to work together successfully. However, the problems and dilemmas experienced by coordinators had not been addressed, until now. This is a significant shortcoming, because these coordinators function as a go-between between formal and informal support, and between the recruitment of professionals and volunteers.

 

This article provides an insight into the problems and dilemmas experienced by the coordinators of financial self-management projects, and how these relate to current municipal policy in the field of debt counselling. The goals of this study were (a) to provide an insight into the problems that coordinators experience when providing support for volunteers, (b) to show the extent to which these problems relate to municipal policy, and (c) to provide recommendations for improving services and the better coordination of the work that volunteers and professionals do, as well as how they work together. To achieve this, we used the answers given by 128 coordinators to three open questions in order to explore the problems and dilemmas that they encounter. These answers were analysed and coded, resulting in 5 distinctive categories, ordered from the most frequently mentioned to the least frequently mentioned: (1) boundaries in providing support, (2) groups of clients with complex problems, (3) the increase in the number of clients and how to recruit enough volunteers, (4) lack of financial resources and time (of the coordinator), and (5) collaboration with other organizations.

 

Changes in municipal policy, the emphasis on self-activation, participation, and individual responsibility and the hiring of volunteers have all contributed to changes in debt counselling practice, to the position and responsibilities of coordinators and the volunteers that they oversee, as well as to changes in collaboration with other organizations and professionals in the field. The main conclusion is that coordinators are continually trying to define the borders of the provision of debt support: what can volunteers do, and what can they not do? These borders need to be clarified, developed, and communicated prior to the start of the support process. This not only involves the tasks and responsibilities of the volunteers, but also the types of client that ask for support. Supporting clients with complex problems is a major problem for coordinators, too. Coordinators are usually responsible for the preliminary assessment of the client case and for finding a suitable volunteer, but recently this process has become much more complicated due to the increase in the complexity of problems that clients present with. 

 

Coordinators also experience problems and dilemmas regarding the recruitment of volunteers who are willing and able to support the increasing number of clients with complex problems and are in need of support. Municipal authorities are responsible for financing and facilitating voluntary work in the field of debt counselling. Recruiting and guiding volunteers requires time and resources. Supporting clients with complex problems adds to the workload of coordinators. Volunteers need more intensive guidance and training, and clients with more complex problems often need support for longer than average.

 

Changes to municipal policy in the fields of healthcare, welfare and debt counselling are impacting on how local organizations work and need to work, as well as on the collaboration between organizations, and between volunteers and professionals. Ideally, volunteers should supplement the work of professionals, being there for the client under the guidance of the coordinator. In order to be able to provide the client with the best possible support and ensure that volunteers remain motivated, the coordinator must, together with the municipal authority and other local organizations, ensure that there is collaboration with and referral to other organizations within the field of debt counselling.

DOI: http://doi.org/10.18352/jsi.512
How to Cite: van Middendorp, J., Gesthuizen, M. & van Geuns, R., (2017). Schuldhulpverlening: Knelpunten en dilemma’s van coördinatoren die vrijwilligers aansturen. Journal of Social Intervention: Theory and Practice. 26(1), pp.23–46. DOI: http://doi.org/10.18352/jsi.512
Published on 17 Mar 2017.
Peer Reviewed

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