The Norwegian system of supporting people with disabilities in independent living, including assistant services
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User-controlled personal assistance (UPA) is an arrangement for disabled people with extensive needs for assistance. With its background in the so-called independent-living ideology based on rights, self-determination and consumer control, the main intention with UPA is to make services more flexible and to provide people with opportunities to live an independent life. This report gives an account of and discusses UPA in the Norwegian welfare context, its legal foundation, its organization and coordination with other welfare services, and how the arrangement is implemented in the municipalities. Further, this report describes the user group and the assistants in more detail, along with their experiences with UPA. This report concludes that UPA in most ways must be considered a success, mainly because it fulfils the goals of greater independence and participation from the users. However, UPA also appears to have inherent tensions. The different goals within the arrangement give rise to tensions, and these have become more pronounced as the arrangement has become more established. A major tension is between the ideological goal of seeing UPA as a tool for liberation, expressed in goals such as independence, participation and user control, on the one hand, and the authorities’ wish and need both to control the costs of welfare services and to secure quality in the services and equality between different user groups, on the other.