Collaboration for drug prevention: Is it possible in a “siloed” governmental structure?
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionInternational Journal of Health Planning and Management. 2019, 34 (4), e1556-e1568. https://doi.org/10.1002/hpm.2846
Purpose: Norwegian municipalities report that drug misuse is the most important public health challenge. The municipalities play a unique role in drug prevention aimed at youth, since young people rely on several services in their daily lives that are organized by different municipal departments. However, the municipal structure is described as siloed, and the policy areas as differentiated. This situation has led to a need for integration between different policy sectors to prevent drug use and promote health. The following study explores how policymakers describe the structures for integration within local government in practice with regard to drug prevention aimed at youth, contributing to the ongoing debate on collaboration and integration in response to public health challenges. Methods: A single case study design was used to investigate the accounts of policymakers from different municipal departments in a Norwegian municipality following Axelsson and Axelsson's conceptual scheme of integration. Findings: Collaboration between departments was viewed as important to successfully address drug prevention; however, the policymakers recognized problems with integration. The participants described confusion regarding ownership between the departments and a perceived lack of a mandate for collaboration. Conclusions: The findings and discussion illustrate that integration of drug prevention in a siloed structure relies on departments appreciating their respective roles in drug prevention and advisers experiencing a mandate to manage the siloes that exist in the organization. By gaining a better understanding of the siloed structures, we can provide valuable information needed to navigate them.