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Article
Publication date: 12 March 2010

June Thoburn

This article is an extended version of an ‘experts’ briefing' commissioned to inform senior child welfare managers in English local authorities and voluntary agencies…

Abstract

This article is an extended version of an ‘experts’ briefing' commissioned to inform senior child welfare managers in English local authorities and voluntary agencies about the available evidence to inform the provision of effective services in complex child protection cases. It starts by noting how differences in the approach to service provision in different jurisdictions affect both the nature of research conducted and its transferability across national boundaries. It then summarises the characteristics both of parents who are likely to maltreat their children and also of the children most likely to be maltreated. The factors that make some families ‘hard to engage’ or ‘hard to help/change’ are then discussed, as are the essential elements of effective professional practice in child protection. Particular attention is paid to effective approaches to helping families and young people who are hard to identify or engage.

Details

Journal of Children's Services, vol. 5 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1746-6660

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 9 December 2011

June Thoburn and Mark E. Courtney

Out‐of‐home care has been a subject for policy debate since child welfare policies were first developed. Too often the debate is marked by ill‐informed sound‐bites linking…

Abstract

Purpose

Out‐of‐home care has been a subject for policy debate since child welfare policies were first developed. Too often the debate is marked by ill‐informed sound‐bites linking “care” with negative descriptors such as “drift” or “languish”. The purpose of this paper is to urge a more nuanced understanding informed by the large volume of research from across jurisdictional boundaries.

Design/methodology/approach

The historical, cultural and political contexts in which studies on children's out‐of‐home care have been conducted are reviewed, since these impact on the characteristics of the children, the aims of the care service in any particular jurisdiction, and the outcomes for those entering care. The paper also scopes the large volume of English language descriptive and process research (and the smaller number of outcome studies) on the different placement options.

Findings

The outcomes of out‐of‐home care are different for different groups of children, and care needs to be taken not to over‐simplify the evidence about processes and outcomes. The generally negative view of the potential of out‐of‐home care is not based on evidence.

Originality/value

The authors, from their North American and UK/European perspectives, provide an analysis of the strengths and weaknesses, both of the available research and of the care services themselves.

Details

Journal of Children's Services, vol. 6 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1746-6660

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 August 2000

J.G. Thoburn, S. Arunachalam and A. Gunasekaran

Information systems (ISs) are at the heart of any responsive organisation. However current tools and techniques of evaluation and design of ISs are not well suited to the…

Abstract

Information systems (ISs) are at the heart of any responsive organisation. However current tools and techniques of evaluation and design of ISs are not well suited to the needs of small and medium sized companies, and the achievement of their strategic, commercial and operational goals, and perhaps not even to those of larger organisations. The failure rate in the use of many computer‐based systems is very high especially in manufacturing organisations. This suggests that a new and simpler technique is required to lay down the foundation for an IS at an early stage in the development of a company. This system must be capable of being applied by non‐specialist managers but nevertheless be one that incorporates all of the elements of information, in circumstances which may be a mix of technology‐based and manual systems. This paper proposes the design of a simple audit tool that may be used in any area of a company’s organisation to aid in the evaluation, planning and design of holistic ISs in SMEs.

Details

Logistics Information Management, vol. 13 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0957-6053

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 August 1999

J.G. Thoburn, S. Arunachalam and A. Gunasekaran

The necessity of maintaining optimal operations and becoming an agile and responsive enterprise is becoming increasingly important to survive in the global market…

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Abstract

The necessity of maintaining optimal operations and becoming an agile and responsive enterprise is becoming increasingly important to survive in the global market. Consequently, all resources in the companies need to be effectively marshalled. Traditionally SMEs have concentrated on the 4Ms ± money, materials, machine and manpower but have often neglected the effective management of information, which many authors suggest is at the heart of any agile organisation. The effect is inadequate or fragmented information systems (IS) that do not address the demands of operational or the wider strategic needs of the company. The study reported here examines the diversities of problems that occur in three different companies and, compares their systems to the ideals of agile manufacturing.

Details

International Journal of Agile Management Systems, vol. 1 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1465-4652

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 7 March 2008

Adrian Small, Petia Sice and Tony Venus

The purpose of this paper is to set out an argument for a way to design, implement and manage IS with an emphasis on first, the learning that can be created through…

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to set out an argument for a way to design, implement and manage IS with an emphasis on first, the learning that can be created through undertaking the approach, and second, the learning that may be created through using the IS that was implemented. The paper proposes joining two areas of research namely, technology management with soft systems methodology (SSM). The framework was developed through undertaking a customer concern management project within a manufacturing organisation.

Design/methodology/approach

Reviewing the literature on information systems management, the learning organisation, and systems theory a proposed synergy is found. The outcome of this synergy allows a number of methodologies to be identified that are argued as suitable for IS design. From these information system development (ISD) methodologies, SSM is expanded to incorporate the principles of the learning organisation and systems theory. The expanded SSM framework is applied in practice through a process of participatory action research.

Findings

The outcome of the practical work argues for a complete framework that joins the areas of research (SSM and technology management) and emphasises other thinking from the areas of systems theory and the “learning organisation”.

Research limitations/implications

The paper concludes with a discussion on the advantages of joining soft systems with technology management but also the limitations created. Such limitations have been identified as moving from the soft, tacit issues of the design phases to the harder more structured aspects of technology implementation and management. A change in philosophy may restrict other issues from being explored. This issue needs to be focussed on in future research.

Practical implications

A framework has been developed that draws on the work of soft systems methodology (SSM) and a technology management process framework (TMPF) used in the area of technology management. By expanding the SSM model and joining it with the TMPF an attempt to give individuals and teams a practical tool to help design, implement, and manage IS with an emphasis on learning the framework promotes.

Originality/value

The framework provides advantages for academics, consultants and other practitioners and gives a central focus on what issues need to be accomplished more explicitly in order to undertake an ISD project.

Details

The Learning Organization, vol. 15 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-6474

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 23 August 2019

Clive Diaz, Hayley Pert and Nigel Patrick Thomas

The research reported here forms part of a study of children’s participation in children in care reviews and decision making in one local authority in England. The purpose…

Abstract

Purpose

The research reported here forms part of a study of children’s participation in children in care reviews and decision making in one local authority in England. The purpose of this paper is to outline the views of 11 social workers and 8 Independent Reviewing Officers (IROs) and explores their perceptions of children’s participation in reviews. The paper considers the barriers to young people participating meaningfully in decision making and how practice could be improved in this vital area so that children’s voices are more clearly heard and when possible acted upon by professionals.

Design/methodology/approach

The data reported here derive from a qualitative cross-sectional study in one English local authority. The entire study involved interviewing children in care, IROs, social workers and senior managers about young people’s participation in their reviews. Findings from the interviews with young people and senior managers have been reported elsewhere (Diaz and Aylward, 2018; Diaz et al., 2018); this paper focusses on the interviews with social workers and IROs. Specifically, the authors were interested in gaining insight into their views about the following research questions: To what degree do children and young people meaningfully participate in reviews? What are the barriers to participation? What can be done to improve children and young people’s participation in reviews?

Findings

During this process seven themes were identified, five of which concerned barriers to effective participation and two which concerned factors that appeared to support effective participation. These are summarised below and explained further in the following sections. Barriers to effective participation: social workers and IROs’ high caseloads and ensuing time pressures; high turnover of social workers and inexperienced staff; lack of understanding and training of professionals in participation; children and young people’s negative experiences of reviews and consequent reticence in taking part; and structure and process of the review not being child-centred. Factors which assist participation: quality of the relationship between the child and professionals; and the child or young person chairing their own review meeting.

Research limitations/implications

Although these findings reflect practice in one local authority, their consistency with other research in this area suggests that they are applicable more widely.

Practical implications

The practice of children chairing their own reviews was pioneered by The Children’s Society in North West England in the 1990s (Welsby, 1996), and has more recently been implemented with some success by IROs in Gloucestershire (see Thomas, 2015, p. 47). A key recommendation from this study would be for research to explore how this practice could be developed and embedded more widely. Previous research has noted the tension between the review being viewed as an administrative process and as a vehicle of participation (Pert et al., 2014). This study highlighted practitioner reservations about young people chairing their own reviews, but it also gave examples of how this had been done successfully and how it could improve children’s participation in decision making. At the very least, it is essential that young people play a role in deciding where the review is going to take place, when it will take place, who is going to be invited and what will be included on the agenda.

Social implications

The paper highlights that in this Local Authority caseloads for social workers were very high and this, combined with a high turnover of staff and an inexperienced workforce, meant that children in care struggled to have a consistent social worker. This often meant that young people were not able to build up a positive working relationship with their social worker, which negatively impacted on their ability to play a meaningful role in decision making.

Originality/value

There have been very few recent studies that have considered professionals’ perspectives of children’s participation in key meetings and decision making, so that this provides a timely and worthwhile contribution to this important area of work.

Details

Journal of Children's Services, vol. 14 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1746-6660

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 July 2003

H.B. Marri, A. Gunasekaran and Bulent Kobu

The revolution in information technology and the changes in political and social environments during the last two decades have created a very competitive global market. In…

2475

Abstract

The revolution in information technology and the changes in political and social environments during the last two decades have created a very competitive global market. In order to remain competitive, business organizations have focused on innovative techniques for product and process designs. Owing to limited resources, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) need to work harder than large corporations in order to survive in a situation of ever‐increasing competition. Considering the importance of elements of computer‐integrated manufacturing (CIM), a framework for the implementation of CIM in SMEs has been developed with the help of a survey conducted in a randomly selected group of 24 SMEs. Also highlights the issues of human resource in the implementation of CIM in SMEs. Finally, presents future research directions.

Details

Industrial and Commercial Training, vol. 35 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0019-7858

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 15 March 2013

Bernard Gallagher and Adam Green

The purpose of this article is to advance knowledge concerning outcomes among the former residents of therapeutic children's homes, especially those located in England.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this article is to advance knowledge concerning outcomes among the former residents of therapeutic children's homes, especially those located in England.

Design/methodology/approach

In total, 16 young adults who had been resident in one of seven therapeutic homes took part in interviews.

Findings

It appeared, from the information they gave in these interviews, that their outcomes were good in terms of their emotional and behavioural well‐being, physical health, accommodation, and absence of early parenthood and substance use. Some of the young adults also had good outcomes in respect of their education and absence of criminal convictions. A small number of the young adults did less well on these latter two measures but few of them were particularly poor in either of these respects. The young adults had limited contact with their family members.

Originality/value

The evidence from this research is that young adults who have been in therapeutic residential care can have good outcomes.

Book part
Publication date: 1 January 2014

Lucinda Ferguson

This article explores the neglected issue of the overrepresentation in the child protection system of children from ethnic, cultural, religious, racial, and linguistic…

Abstract

This article explores the neglected issue of the overrepresentation in the child protection system of children from ethnic, cultural, religious, racial, and linguistic minorities. It focuses on the accommodation of children’s diverse backgrounds within the s 31(2) threshold and s1 “best interests” stages of intervention under the Children Act 1989. First, it introduces the ethnic child protection penalty as a new tool for capturing the complex nature of overrepresentation of these children. Second, it proposes a framework for understanding the judicial approach in higher court decisions on the current extent and nature of accommodation. Third, it employs the penalty concept to help explain why case law analysis reveals difficulties with the current factor-based approach, whereas empirical research suggests generally satisfactory accommodation in practice. It concludes by proposing a contextualized framework for decision-making in relation to child protection.

Article
Publication date: 15 June 2012

Penelope Welbourne and Caroline Leeson

This paper seeks to explore three key aspects of the education of children in care: the composition of that population of children and the extent to which they differ from…

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Abstract

Purpose

This paper seeks to explore three key aspects of the education of children in care: the composition of that population of children and the extent to which they differ from the general population of children due to difficulties most of them have experienced prior to as well as after entering care; issues relating to the identification of causal relationships and the extent of “underachievement” by children in care; and any evidence that care may provide more positive opportunities than is often supposed.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper's approach is an extensive literature review of existing published research into social policy and practice of caring for looked after children.

Findings

The significant factors that contribute to better achievement for children in care are: placement stability and support at school but for some children therapeutic help and specialist assessments are necessary to improve outcomes. Different analyses produce different results and the scrutiny of children's trajectories indicates better outcomes than one‐off comparisons with children not in care.

Originality/value

Extensive research has established that children in care achieve less educationally than their peers not in care, but does not explain why. This paper helps to fill this gap.

Details

Journal of Children's Services, vol. 7 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1746-6660

Keywords

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