Old and New Encounters: The Impact of Managing Diversity on Services for Children and Young People in the UK

Dudau, A. and McAllister, L. (2008) Old and New Encounters: The Impact of Managing Diversity on Services for Children and Young People in the UK. In: 12th Annual Conference of the International Research Society for Public Management (IRSPM XII), Brisbane, Australia, 26 Mar 2008,

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Abstract

The Crime and Disorder Act, 1998 moved the youth justice system onto new terrain, tackling the prevention of children’s and young people’s offending by means of permanent partnerships of social workers, health professionals, educationalists, probation and police officers. Youth Offending Teams (YOTs) have become the vehicles of service delivery in the policy area of youth justice. After the Children Act 2004, YOTs have been located within statutory partnerships with a whole range of agencies (including those already represented in YOTs) in Local Safeguarding Children Boards (LSCBs). Like any innovation, multi-agency working brings both opportunities and threats. Indeed, the agencies with a duty to cooperate in the policy realm of children and young people’s policy are often conventional, long established organisations drawing upon even more traditional core professions. One of the consequences of this is a reluctance to cooperate due to essential incompatibilities between core practices and organisational cultures. Previous research by the authors (McAllister and Dudau, 2006) identified gender as an important element of misalignment between the core agencies in partnerships for children and young people: social services, schools, health authorities and the police. Specifically, we argued that if gender biased conventions represent one area of inter-organisational misunderstanding and potential dysfunction, this will impact on the quality of interaction and the outcomes for the partnership as a whole. Other research by one of the authors (McAllister and Stirbu 2007) identified the age and capacity of organisations as factors in demonstrating gender balance. In this paper, we develop this existing research by first, exploring other measures of diversity (such as professional background and working patterns) as potential barriers in collaborations. Secondly, we explore whether the newer YOTs better deal with diversity than their more established partner agencies in LSCBs. Thirdly, we explore inter-agency dynamics between YOTs and their more traditional partners in the LSCBs. Finally, we draw some conclusions about the value and importance of managing diversity for effective multi-agency work.

Item Type:Conference Proceedings
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Dudau, Dr Adina
Authors: Dudau, A., and McAllister, L.
Subjects:H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
College/School:College of Social Sciences > Adam Smith Business School > Management
Journal Name:IRSPM
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2008 The Authors
Publisher Policy:Reproduced with permission of Authors
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