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Quality, risk and governance: social workers’ perspectives

Taylor, Brian J and Campbell, Barbara (2011) Quality, risk and governance: social workers’ perspectives. The International Journal of Leadership in Public Services, 7 (4). pp. 256-272. [Journal article]

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DOI: 10.1108/17479881111194152


Purpose – Governance is an emerging aspect of social care organisations embodyingprofessionally-led risk management, quality assurance and service improvement. The purpose ofthis paper is to put forward a broad conceptualisation of the main dimensions of quality and risk insocial care.Design/methodology/approach – A survey was undertaken to seek the perspectives on social caregovernance (SCG) of social workers in the South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust in NorthernIreland where clinical and SCG is formalised in the integrated health and social care service.Findings – The 123 respondents were from a wide range of grades, aspects of work (practice,management and training) and both children’s and adult services. Approximately, 60 per cent of social workers thought themselves knowledgeable on SCG, but this self-reported knowledge wasconsiderably higher amongst managers and trainers than practitioners. The risk register was familiar to 61 per cent of respondents. Social workers thought that useful ways to learn about SCG were team meetings, local workshops and engagement in developmental projects rather than training events.Research limitations/implications – The 41 per cent response rate is typical of surveys of busyprofessionals.Practical implications – Social workers were generally not very aware of the systems beingdeveloped to implement accountability and support through SCG, presenting challenges to the tasks of managing risk and improving the safety and quality of services.Originality/value – The paper shows that Northern Ireland is pioneering the development of SCG inparallel with clinical governance in health care. Valuable lessons are being learned about theapplication of concepts of risk and quality in the complexity of social work.Keywords Northern Ireland, Social services, Social workers, Governance, Leadership, Quality, Risk, Social care governancePaper type Research paper

Item Type:Journal article
Keywords:Governance, Leadership, Northern Ireland, Quality, Risk, Social Care, Social Services, Social Workers.
Faculties and Schools:Faculty of Social Sciences > School of Sociology and Applied Social Studies
Faculty of Social Sciences
Research Institutes and Groups:Institute for Research in Social Sciences > Social Work & Social Policy
Institute for Research in Social Sciences
ID Code:20851
Deposited By: Professor Brian Taylor
Deposited On:18 Sep 2012 09:05
Last Modified:26 Jul 2013 13:58

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