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Title: No frills : the governance of children and family services
Author: Lehane, Maria
ISNI:       0000 0004 5922 9459
Awarding Body: University of Kent
Current Institution: University of Kent
Date of Award: 2015
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No Frills is a grounded case study enquiry based on a Local Authority in the South of England. The research question asked ‘How do the governance arrangements and the organisational structures of education and children’s social care services inhibit or support transdisciplinary working?’ No Frills raises the varied social location and categorisation of children historically and now, as occupying various policy positions, either as part of, or separate to, family. Children have been, and still are, labelled as socially constructed subjects dependent upon wide ranging and frequently contradictory societal norms, values and expectations. These social constructs have played their part in shaping how organisations have worked with children and their families both in the past and in the more recent policy imperatives to Working Together No Frills is contextualised by the New Labour Government’s policy of Every Child Matters (ECM) and the Common Assessment Framework (CAF) and focus’ upon safeguarding children through the job roles of the wider children’s workforce and the ‘Working Together’ agenda to include parents. The nature of ‘transdisciplinary’ as a form of working together is identified and explored with particular reference to the concept of role release (McGonigel 1994; King 2009), whereby professionals share their expertise with, and release roles to, paraprofessionals, and parents as part of a transdisciplinary team. The literature regarding role release in transdisciplinary work is from the perspective of professionals who release aspects of their job role. In No Frills, the released aspect focused upon is the assessment of children deemed to be in need of safeguarding. The boundaries between safeguarding, prevention and protection are not always clear and this creates uncertainty and concern for members of the wider children’s workforce. No Frills examines the perspective of members of the wider children’s workforce at the receiving end of role release, through the contribution of participants from a cross section of staff, and service users. The role of power in ‘Working Together’ is identified as a pivotal relational dynamic affecting both members of staff and service users in the governance of role release in transdisciplinary working together. The governance of role release obscures the location of responsibility and accountability in children’s safeguarding services. Members of the wider children’s workforce find themselves increasingly responsible for assessing and meeting the needs of children that have complex needs. Members of the wider children’s workforce are not always confident in assessing the ever increasing complexities of need for children’s safeguarding through the CAF. Staff faced with such assessment complexities, often refer children to statutory social care services, which could be seen as an inappropriate referral because of the high threshold criteria to access children’s social care services. This dynamic illustrates that the role of assessment and monitoring has been released to the wider children’s workforce through an auditable outcome based governance. Contextualised by prevailing neoliberal value systems the governance of role release ‘repackaged’ (Newman 2005:4) children’s safeguarding and protection needs into quantifiable categories ‘through the imposition of codified and proceduralised, efficiency-related knowledge’ (Keeping 2008:139).
Supervisor: Adams, Adrian ; Kirton, Derek Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform ; HQ755.8 Parents. Parenthood ; JN101 Great Britain