Allegations against people working with children: a study of initial decision making

RHODES, Caroline J. (2011). Allegations against people working with children: a study of initial decision making. Doctoral, Sheffield Hallam University.

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    Abstract

    The study explores the initial decision making of managers within services for children when faced with an allegation of abuse against a member of staff. Much has been written about thresholds for intervention in response to abuse of children within their families. When the alleged abuse or poor childcare practice is by professionals, the initial decision making is equally complex, but the thresholds for inclusion in the formal safeguarding processes have received less attention. The study responds to the gap identified by practitioners in determining the appropriate level of intervention to reported behaviours across a range of children’s services. It makes available summary descriptions of nine allegations reported between March 2008 and February 2009, in two Local Safeguarding Children Board areas. Descriptive accounts from the participants, obtained through semi structured interviews, provide insight into the actions taken and approach to decision making including the role of relationships. The descriptions included systematic information gathering and consultation with others, conducted within a tight time frame, which was not dependent on knowledge of safeguarding children procedures. The findings suggest that awareness of specific safeguarding procedures for the management of allegations did not enhance practice or decision making, and could operate to blur responsibility for decision making. Further data was drawn from semi structured interviews utilising vignettes constructed from the anonymised real cases to explore the levels of incidents reported across agencies. The finding that practice varied more between areas than between agencies suggested that responses were attuned to local interpretation and implementation of the national guidance. The comparison of responses across the study suggests that in some situations the current processes for managing allegations may not serve either the welfare of the child or the best interests of the worker.

    Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
    Research Institute, Centre or Group: Sheffield Hallam Doctoral Theses
    Depositing User: Helen Garner
    Date Deposited: 07 Feb 2012 14:52
    Last Modified: 07 Feb 2012 14:52
    URI: http://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/4596

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