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Homepage > Archive > Numar: 3 > A Quasi-Experiment to Evaluate the Effects of Reduced Caseload in Switzerland

 A Quasi-Experiment to Evaluate the Effects of Reduced Caseload in Switzerland

  • Miryam Eser Davolio (University of Appplied Science Zurich, Social Work Departement, Pfingstweidstr.96, Postfach 707, CH-8037 Zürich, Tel. +41 58 934 88 76, E-mail:;

Not only in Switzerland, the trend in social welfare toward raising numbers of cases per social worker due to the growing need for public assistance and the coincident lack of political will to enhance the capacities of social welfare has led to a contra-productive situation. The overload of cases and the limited resources of social services often result in to low levels of contact between social workers and their service users. To break this vicious circle in welfare services provision, the conditions to conduct a quasi-experiment over two years have been established: the employment of three additional social workers over this period reduces the number of cases per social worker considerably and an evaluation examines this new setting by scientific means. A simple random sampling was done by lottery to assign three former social workers to the experimental group which has a maximal limit of 75 assigned cases per social worker. The rest of the social workers (N=18) form the control group. They work with among 130 cases per worker for a full time equivalent (FTE). The main question of the evaluation is about the impact of the caseload on the costs of social assistance. The evaluation is ongoing and the focus of this article is on the collaboration of researchers, social service and practitioners as well as decision-makers.

Keywords: caseload, social assistance, evaluation, social welfare