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Challenge and complexity: Implementing the principal child and family social worker role in England

Russell, Marion 2018. Challenge and complexity: Implementing the principal child and family social worker role in England. DSW Thesis, Cardiff University.
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Following the Munro Review of Child Protection in England in 2011, the appointment of a Principal Child and Family Social Worker was recommended to provide practice leadership across child protection social work with children and families. Since this time, the experience of local authorities has varied greatly in the interpretation and implementation of the role. Using a multi-method qualitative approach, this study considered the views and perspectives of Senior Managers in the conception and implementation, and the experience of PCFSWs in undertaking the role, to interrogate the following research questions: - How has the role of PCFSW been implemented? - What does the implementation tell about management, leadership and professional status? - What does the implementation reveal about boundary spanning, organisational change, and complexity? - What are the implications for future policy development? The wider context of continuing changes in legislation, policy, regulation, and DfE lead reform was considered. Building on the systems approach advocated by Munro, this research was conceptualised with reference to boundary spanning and complexity theory. The findings suggest that current policy and practice in child protection social work has evolved in a closed system, where compliance and the features of managerialism prevail. In contrast, frontline practitioners more readily operate in a complex system. Tensions between the two perspectives continue such that the aspirations for reform instigated by Munro and articulated by the participants in this study have not been fully achieved. Such aspirations may not be achievable when one part of the wider system needs to be open and adaptive, while the authority in the system seeks to be controllable, and hence closed. These tensions are reflected in current DfE policy initiatives. Given this, it is unlikely that one role, the PCFSW, can singularly effect such change within the organisation or the wider system.

Item Type: Thesis (DSW)
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 27 November 2018
Last Modified: 07 Oct 2021 09:37

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