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Collaborative Work in Sociable Care

Keywords: multi firm collaboration, child services cooperation, information sharing cultural work


The following article proposes to consider the question of collaborative employed in social care and attention, looking in particular at the impact of collaborative working between businesses and professional disciplines within the framework of children and family members. This represents an especially complex problem to try and tackle with the issues of both collaborative working and working with children families at the mercy of an almost continuous process of reform and change in the modern day era. When, for illustration, we pause to consider the way in which collaborative work has become such a central feature of modern day social plan in european liberal democracies with the promulgation of the relationship approach to federal dictating the pattern of a variety of social, cultural, monetary and politics initiatives, we can easily see that any discussion relating to multi-agency work must reside in some part within the realms of an constantly changing political ideology that looks for in the beginning to instil new variables for cultural work practice (Quinney, 2006:5-21). Likewise, whenever we consider the changing aspect of working with children and people in the contemporary era, we can see that a decidedly pervasive legislative and coverage framework increasingly that looks for to infringe upon the practice of social focus on both an individual and a collaborative level cannot help but impact upon our knowledge of the nature and role of the social staff member within the context of children and family members (O'Loughlin and Bywater, 2008:14-27). Thus, we have to monitor from the outset the way in which the following essay constitutes an inherently subjective debate where any conclusions garnered should be known as open to further change and reinterpretation.

For the purpose of perspective, we plan to adopt a dualistic approach to the problem at hand, looking firstly at the politics, ideological and legal context in which cultural work with children and people currently takes place. In this manner, we will be better able to demonstrate a powerful understanding of the field of child and family work, the social work role and the multidiscipline system with regards to children in need and children looking for protection. Second, we will look at the implications of our very own evidence-based research yielded from group dynamics regarding a specific research study of children and family members. In this way, we are better in a position to demonstrate an understanding of the importance of evidence-based practice. In addition, in this way, we are better able to consider both the advantages and the weaknesses of the collaborative method of cultural service provision at the dawn of the twenty first century. Before we will start, though, we need to briefly consider the historical context in order to establish a conceptual construction in which the remainder of the discussion can take place.

The political, ideological and legal context of working with children and families

To understand the significance of the multi-agency, collaborative approaches to child protection we have to first mention some of the most profound conditions of child cruelty, that have acted as a introduction pad for reforms of sociable services. When, for occasion, we pause to consider the case of Dennis O'Neil who was starved and consequently beaten to fatality by his foster father in 1945, we can see that cases of extreme mistreatment of taken care of children directly added to reform of the kid cultural services system. Maria Colwell was similarly abused and wiped out at the hands of her stepfather regardless of over fifty recognized appointments to the family by sociable services, health guests, cops and housing officers before her loss of life in 1973. Due to the ensuing enquiry into Maria Colwell's fatality, looked after children were assigned a 'guardian' by the state of hawaii. (Cocker and Allain, 2008:24) In the same way, public outrage, internal queries and institutional reform supported the murders of Jasmine Beckford in 1984 and the uncovering of wide-spread sexual abuse among looked after children in Cleveland in 1987. Furthermore, the wrongful fostering of children on the Orkney Islands in 1991 after interpersonal workers mistakenly assumed that parents were part of an satanic cult brought about a reconfiguration of child safeguard policy, acting as a timely reminder regarding the fallibility of decision making at a person as well as an organisational level.

Yet although it holds true that children's services have been influenced by specific historical cases of neglect, misuse and murder, additionally it is true that sociable work and children's services are inherently tied to the dominant political ideology of your day. As we've already asserted, social work practice in the modern era is an inherently political issue with a pervasive neoliberal political ideology dictating the design of social policy and welfare reform over the course of the past two decades. Nowhere is this modernising neoliberal impetus more dominant than in neuro-scientific social use children and people (Johns, 2009:39-54). You start with the Children's Function of 1989 and carrying on with the amended Children's Function of 2004, the state has increasingly searched for to make procedures for disadvantaged children and failing families in order to reduce the debilitating ill effects of marginalisation and sociable exclusion.

These two Works, together with a number of other related sociable policies and statutory construction such as the Every Child Concerns programme, constitute an ideological watershed with regards to the way in which the state of hawaii legislatively copes with the numerous issues due to children and people. Most obviously, these pieces of legislation and the broader emphasis after social inclusion that they entail telegraph a fresh way of giving an answer to issues due to children and families by seeking to target the complexities (rather than the effects) of overlook, exclusion, abuse and the ubiquitous issue of failing families. As a result, it is important to observe how the reforms initiated within the closing decades of the twentieth century and the opening ten years of the twenty first century stand for a move from the permissive public policies of the post-war years in order to incorporate a discernibly more preventative agenda for dealing with children and households (Morris, Barnes and Mason, 2009:43-67).

It is within this climate of preventative action that we must consider the genesis and subsequent advancement of collaborative public work practice with multi-agency work being intrinsically tied to the broader imperative of safeguarding children. The statutory framework of the Every Child Matters initiative, underpinned by the Children's Work (2004) is, for instance, inherently tied to the partnership, collaborative approach to cultural service provision involving the active contribution of pros across all spectrums who work with children and adults (Brammer, 2009:166). Understood in this manner, the role of the communal worker represents one part of an broader network of protection under the law and tasks incorporating General Practitioners, psychologists, educational professionals, housing association officers, Country wide Health Service pros, law enforcement businesses, government officers, local councillors, parents, members of the family and any number of related personnel and associates who can help formulate an effective social plan which places the kid at the epicentre of most key decision-making. In this manner, the social staff member is better able to communicate with children who've suffered or are suffering from cases of disregard and abuse (Davies and Duckett, 2008:164-166).

As a effect, it is clear that relationship and collaboration should be recognized as the ideological bedrock of the modern-day legal and political framework for dealing with children, individuals and young adults, constituting the one most important guiding basic principle for social personnel working in the highly complex, risk-orientated contemporary public sphere. Fuelled in some part by the high profile cases of internal failings contributing to children's' disregard where, most notably, the untimely death of Victoria Climbie in 2000 highlighted "gross failures of the system" (Laming, 2003:11-13), collaborative working between organizations and professional disciplines is today comprehended as the utmost viable means of positively impacting after the wellness of both children and families (Brammer, 2009:182. )

In response to the murder of Victoria Climbie and, more pertinently, because of this of the monetary imperative to scale back on general population sector spending, the New Labour government, accompanied by today's coalition federal government, has increasingly wanted to help expand the multi-agency approach to interpersonal services. The Children's Plan (2007), for example, constitutes an ideological expansion of the collaborative strategy championed in the Every Child Concerns campaign with the government, agencies and experts all incurred with "improving children's lives. " (The Section for Children, Classes and People, 2010:29) Safeguarding the health of children is therefore no longer considered to be the only real responsibility of their state; rather, it is clear that promoting the welfare of children and individuals is increasingly centered upon adopting a built-in approach with a number of agencies, organisations and people sharing the responsibility for welfare while at the same time ensuring that the child remains the focus of proactive, preventative action (The Division for Children, Colleges and Families, 2010:31-34). It really is therefore important to underline the advantages of the multi-agency method of social care and attention provision, underscoring specifically how focusing upon collaborative working with children and individuals offers a alternative approach to what is an essentially multi-faceted problem.

However, while we have been correct to recognize the modernising ideology that underpins modern communal work practice, we also have to observe the way in which the day to day practice of interpersonal use children and family members has revealed a substantial actual chasm between, on the one hand, the preventative legal construction and, on the other side, the deep-seated defects in the multi-agency, inter-disciplinary approach to welfare provision in the present day day (Oko, 2008:16-39). Regardless of the best work of policy designers and in spite of the preventative statutory construction enshrined in the Every Child Concerns initiative, there continue to be deep-rooted structural and logistical problems pertaining to the multi-agency procedure. For example, the horrific death of Baby P in 2007 which occurred after public services, National Health Service consultants, and cops shows that there remains a specific and identifiable problem with regards to communication between businesses, organisations and professions.

Moreover, the harrowing case of Baby P assists to show that, even though extreme levels of abuse are being reported, there remains an issue regarding involvement. The multi-agency method of social good care provision in the contemporary should therefore be known to be inherently flawed with the collaborative system beset by a number of structural weaknesses and new ideological complexities (Milner and O'Byrne, 2009:19-23). Although we ought to not seek to forget the strengths of multi-agency, collaborative working we should, as Eileen Munro attests, consider how an exceedingly risk-orientated socio-political culture has generated additional problems for cultural workers in the modern era with an extremely bureaucratic, administrative knowledge of cultural services hampering the attainment of a crucial understanding of the underlying monetary, cultural and political factors that induce problems in the communal sphere (Munro, 2008:58-76). An over-emphasis after research and plan hasn't yet yielded a substantial reduction in the chasm between theory and practice.

Working in an organization: The Lessons for Dealing with Children and Families

Hitherto, we have focused upon wanting to know how the dominant political, ideological and legal construction looks to dictate the pattern of communal services at the dawn of the twenty first century. We have also seen that while plans and frameworks seek to instil a fresh, collaborative approach to working with children and young individuals the practical actuality of working in a multi-agency context still contributes to significant problems regarding communication. This, in the final analysis, is an inevitable result of dealing with the dynamics of communities where there is little through direction and where, more importantly, different group associates harbour different perspectives and various ambitions with regards to the character, role and purpose of the project at hand.

In the group which i worked in, there were six members. Two were two white women - one a young woman in her early twenties; the other a woman in her thirties who is the mother of two young children. There were also two dark-colored women in the group; both of these women were in their thirties and both experienced children. Furthermore, there were two dark-colored men within the group. As soon as the group started to convene, it was immediately obvious that there was a significant problem in relation to when the group could meet. Family commitments, in conjunction with work placements, conspired to make agreeing on a period to meet extremely difficult. Furthermore, when work was designated to particular individuals it had not been completed on time. A lack of structure was therefore prevalent right away.

As time passed and the problems with communication within the group extended to expand, it became clear that the two white women needed it after themselves to do something as the market leaders of the group, delegating work as if they have been allocated the role of the professionals. The younger female in her early twenties was noticed to be especially competitive and domineering. When confronted she didn't act in a professional manner, which put further strain upon the dynamics of the group. Furthermore, as the two white women exerted increasing levels of managerial control, it became clear that these were withholding important info from all of those other group. This was either because they didn't trust the other customers of the group to work to their requirements or because they wished to take single responsibility for the task upon completion. No matter their true motives, having less co-ordination and communication resulted in a disappointing final presentation that were undermined on account of a wholesale lack of rehearsal.

The lack of cohesive, coordinated action within the group unveiled a good deal about the inherent problems of inter-agency use children and family members. Most obviously, there is a definite and identifiable problem associated with a lack of leadership and direction in the group. Although there were only six members, every participant seemed to have their own specific 'agenda', which designed that the entire goal became lost in the resulting confusion of tasks. This, matching to Michael Gasper, is a key problem in multi-agency dealing with children and teenagers in which a convergence of hobbies creates fertile grounds for problems relating to management and management (Gasper, 2009:92-110). In such circumstances, it is often the agency or partner that adopts the most rigorously extreme attitude which eventually ends up assuming a leadership-type role - largely against the best interests of the task in hand. This is certainly the situation in the group we discovered where the two white women assumed leadership functions although no such idea had been mentioned and regardless of the fact that no such insurance policy had been arranged.

In this occasion, of course, it is impossible to disregard the spectre of underlying race issues that may have consciously or subconsciously inspired the behaviour of both white women within the group. Competition issues are intrinsically tied to electric power issues; thus, the white women might have felt the need to seize control of an organization dominated by dark-colored people. Again, the problem of vitality and the impact that has upon inter-personal relationships in just a multi-agency setting is an important factor for all of us to consider. As Damien Fitzgerald and Janet Kay underscore, electric power is an inexorably essential aspect that should be legislated for when groups come together in an interdisciplinary, multi-professional framework. This is especially true during the early consultative periods of group work - the 'storming level' - where "there could be fighting, power challenges, disputes and dangerous criticism, which have to be managed effectively to be able to minimise the impact upon the environment or the service. " (Fitzgerald and Kay, 2007:92)

The romantic relationships that emerge from the storming stage are subsequently normalised during the ensuing 'norming' stage where the team starts to adopt its own personality. If, however, the connections between your various agencies never have settled down into an egalitarian pattern by the norming stage of development, the power struggles and inner disputes will undoubtedly impact the 'executing' stage of job management. Most notably, the creative process will be stifled and the emphasis that should be dedicated on the completion of the task will be diverted towards the power struggles within the group (Cheminais, 2009:38-40). This is certainly the situation in the group I worked well in where problems in the storming level were translated into more serious structural problems in the norming level, both which ultimately affected the final performing level of the duty. Thus, once more, we have to acknowledge the significant separate between theory and practice in collaborative dealing with children and people where, as Jayat implies, "policies can be well intentioned, yet tend to be poorly co-ordinated and, in practice, under-resourced. " (Jayat, 2009:92)

Furthermore, while acknowledging the problems that multi-agency, collaborative work includes, we also have to consider the way in which the infusion of children into the circumstance creates further strategies for too little cohesive, co-ordinated action. If, as the evidence suggests, information writing is negatively inspired by multi-agency, collaborative dealing with parents, then it stands to reason that there is bound to be much increased scope for withholding information when children and individuals are built-into the task. If relationships at a company level are strained then it stands to reason that, as Butler and Roberts attest, that social workers will find it even harder to keep up open and genuine interactions with children and their parents in a social work framework (Butler and Roberts, 2004:129-130). More importantly, it is clear that there surely is little time for power problems and disputes whenever a child's welfare reaches stake. In the ultimate analysis, this type of inside wrangling runs unlike the central tenet of the Every Child Things and the Attempting to Safeguard Children promotions, which look to be sure that the kid remains the centre of task-centred, multi-agency target (Department for Children, Colleges and Families, 2010:32).

We should, of course, take care not to assume that group dynamics follow the routine of the group we noticed. While evidence shows that there remains a substantial scope for problems of vitality, communication, authority and path within multi-agency options additionally it is true that, if handled in the appropriate manner, "collaborative practice allows differences in prices to surface and, if effectively 'minded', to be shown and resolved over time" (Glenny and Roaf, 2008:111) In such circumstances, multi-agency use children and families can serve to positively effect medical and wellness of service users. As a consequence, it's important not to believe that the structural weaknesses of collaboration imply that there are no strengths to the multi-agency process.


Understanding the strengths and the weaknesses of collaborative working between businesses and professional disciplines would depend upon first understanding the length to be travelled between the theory of reduction and the practice of cooperation at a grass roots level. Seeking to reduce the divide between theory and practice, between your politics and ideological platform and the multi-agency, collaborative strategy, consequently presents the most significant challenge facing public workers and communal policy makers likewise. This is also true so far as children's services are worried.

Ultimately, though, when looking to complete a judgement on the comparative advantages and weakness of multi-agency working with children and young families we need to recall that companies involve individuals giving an answer to crises in the sociable sphere. As Beckett attests, "every specific participant in the kid protection process, and every career or agency, automatically perceives things from his, her or its own particular standpoint and has his, her or its own particular 'axes to grind. ' It's important to bear in mind that no-one participant possesses the genuine and unadulterated 'fact. '" (Beckett, 2009:29) Social work is an inherently complex and subjective self-discipline where there is absolutely no right or incorrect answer to the multitude of questions due to the break down of interpersonal connections. Collaborative work should consequently be understood to be inherently fallible. Only by focusing upon improving the internal group dynamics of multi-agency working can the chasm between theory and practice get started to be reduced.

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