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Spotlights and shadows: a social work perspective on information sharing to safeguard children

Spotlights and shadows: a social work perspective on information sharing to safeguard children
Spotlights and shadows: a social work perspective on information sharing to safeguard children
Information sharing has often been identified as an area of weakness in inter-agency practice (e.g. Lord Laming, 2003). Failures in inter-agency communication seem to haunt professional practice and are repeatedly cited in public inquiries and serious case reviews relating to harm to children (Reder & Duncan, 2003). This is despite a long-standing governmental drive to improve the systems and practices of information sharing (Thompson, 2010).
In considering the disparity between the attention received and improvements affected within the field of information sharing, this thesis suggests that the assumptions that have underpinned governmental responses to communication failures are problematic. Whilst policy makers have tended to assume that information sharing should be a straightforward matter, this research is grounded in a belief that, in fact, it is likely to be a highly complex task, affected by the emotional dynamics and contextual constraints of day to day child protection practice. Using a psycho-socially informed case study of three local authority children’s services teams, the research seeks a deeper understanding of what information sharing entails for front line children’s social work practitioners and how it is experienced at an emotional level.
Findings from the research highlight the centrality of information work and the diversity and complexity of the tasks involved. Attention is drawn to a disparity between the resources, opportunities or skills described as necessary for the fulfilment of information tasks and those actually occurring within the context of 21st century welfare organizations. Findings suggest that the anxieties inherent within the research setting around lack of resource and high demand, have given rise to a number of socially structured defences against anxiety which influence the way in which work is carried out. The thesis concludes with a number of practical steps that could offer enhanced support for practitioners undertaking the complex and emotionally laden tasks of information sharing.
Lees, Amanda
280a1876-2e23-477f-a770-70d46ff70040
Lees, Amanda
280a1876-2e23-477f-a770-70d46ff70040
Meyer, Edgar
f2e4fe13-ba46-43e7-99e1-979cf3983c64

(2013) Spotlights and shadows: a social work perspective on information sharing to safeguard children. University of Southampton, School of Management, Doctoral Thesis, 314pp.

Record type: Thesis (Doctoral)

Abstract

Information sharing has often been identified as an area of weakness in inter-agency practice (e.g. Lord Laming, 2003). Failures in inter-agency communication seem to haunt professional practice and are repeatedly cited in public inquiries and serious case reviews relating to harm to children (Reder & Duncan, 2003). This is despite a long-standing governmental drive to improve the systems and practices of information sharing (Thompson, 2010).
In considering the disparity between the attention received and improvements affected within the field of information sharing, this thesis suggests that the assumptions that have underpinned governmental responses to communication failures are problematic. Whilst policy makers have tended to assume that information sharing should be a straightforward matter, this research is grounded in a belief that, in fact, it is likely to be a highly complex task, affected by the emotional dynamics and contextual constraints of day to day child protection practice. Using a psycho-socially informed case study of three local authority children’s services teams, the research seeks a deeper understanding of what information sharing entails for front line children’s social work practitioners and how it is experienced at an emotional level.
Findings from the research highlight the centrality of information work and the diversity and complexity of the tasks involved. Attention is drawn to a disparity between the resources, opportunities or skills described as necessary for the fulfilment of information tasks and those actually occurring within the context of 21st century welfare organizations. Findings suggest that the anxieties inherent within the research setting around lack of resource and high demand, have given rise to a number of socially structured defences against anxiety which influence the way in which work is carried out. The thesis concludes with a number of practical steps that could offer enhanced support for practitioners undertaking the complex and emotionally laden tasks of information sharing.

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More information

Published date: December 2013
Organisations: University of Southampton, Southampton Business School

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 364371
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/364371
PURE UUID: 995c38fa-fc46-4eaf-b44c-699565a52f4e

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Date deposited: 09 Jun 2014 09:45
Last modified: 18 Jul 2017 02:32

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Contributors

Author: Amanda Lees
Thesis advisor: Edgar Meyer

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