In 2008, compulsory community care (CCC) for people with severe mental illness was introduced in Sweden. CCC requires co-operation between psychiatric and social services, thus further complicating the longstanding difficulties with service coordination in the mental health field.
This article investigates what happens when a new policy is introduced that assumes complex co-operation of two organisations bestowed with high degrees of discretion. The process of institutionalisation will be analysed in terms of how an idea is translated and materialised on local levels. This has been investigated by interviewing key informants within psychiatric and social services at three different locations.
The implementation was perceived as relatively successful and occurred without major conflict. The main effect of the new legislation was improvement in the coordination of services, where designing a template form for a coordinated care plan was central. The inter-organisational discussions about service coordination that arose had a spill-over effect on services for other patient groups.
In essence, respondents describe CCC as a pedagogical reform to promote the coordination of services, rather than a reform to increase coercive powers over patients. This raises concerns about the legitimacy of the reform.