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When policy o'erleaps itself:the 'tragic tale' of the Integrated Children's System

White, S. and Wastell, David and Broadhurst, K. and Hall, Chris (2010) When policy o'erleaps itself:the 'tragic tale' of the Integrated Children's System. Critical Social Policy, 30 (3). pp. 405-429. ISSN 0261-0183

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Abstract

Information technology plays a pivotal role in New Labour’s modernization programme. Here we report findings from a 2 year ethnographic study of the impact and origin of one such system, the Integrated Children’s System, which has been deployed in statutory children’s social care. We show how the ICS, by attempting to micro-manage work through a rigid performance management regime, and a centrally prescribed practice model, has disrupted the professional task, engendering a range of unsafe practices and provoking a gathering storm of user resistance. We attribute these paradoxical outcomes to inherent flaws in the design of ICS, which derive from the history of its development and its embodiment of an audit-driven, inspectorial ideology. We conclude with some suggestions for user-centred design and policymaking, which have relevance not only for children’s social care but for the public services in general.

Item Type: Article
Journal or Publication Title: Critical Social Policy
Uncontrolled Keywords: ethnography ; information technology ; performance management ; social work ; user-centred design
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
Departments: Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences > Applied Social Science
ID Code: 28229
Deposited By: Mr Michael Dunne
Deposited On: 18 Nov 2009 15:17
Refereed?: No
Published?: Published
Last Modified: 09 Apr 2014 20:30
Identification Number:
URI: http://eprints.lancs.ac.uk/id/eprint/28229

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