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Devolved budgets in Children’s Social Care: A logic model based on three pilot evaluations

Westlake, David ORCID:, Corliss, Cindy ORCID:, Thompson, Sarah, Meindl, Melissa ORCID:, Diaz, Clive ORCID:, Talwar, Ria and Folkes, Louise 2022. Devolved budgets in Children’s Social Care: A logic model based on three pilot evaluations. British Journal of Social Work 52 (7) , pp. 3999-4020. 10.1093/bjsw/bcac019

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A lack of basic resources and financial difficulties affect many families and increase risks to children. Social workers’ ability to help is limited by scarce resources, and managers usually control the financial and material help that is available, making it difficult to access directly. This article reports on a mixed methods evaluation of ‘devolved budgets’ (DBs), an intervention where social workers could use up to £10,000 to help families directly and reduce the need for children to enter care. The devolution of decision making to workers was a key feature of the intervention, and many needed encouragement and support to use DBs, exercised caution and spent less than expected. Resources were used to access additional help quickly, though often in circumstances where there was no immediate likelihood of a child entering care. We present a logic model which delineates two pathways through which we theorise DBs to operate: by (1) resources being dedicated to a family’s needs and (2) improved worker–family relationships. By illustrating the erosion of practical support within the social work role, our findings substantiate critiques of managerialism. As a way forward, we argue for greater trust in social workers’ judgement.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Children’s Social Care Research and Development Centre (CASCADE)
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISSN: 0045-3102
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 7 March 2022
Date of Acceptance: 25 November 2021
Last Modified: 06 Mar 2024 16:44

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