Changing children’s services: a social capital analysis
Children’s public services require professionals to work together to provide timely and ‘seamless’ services, and to ensure specific expertise is available when required. Extensive policy guidance and advice directs such joint work. Professionals work within a variety of employment structures, from integrated services managing different professions within one organisation, to cooperative approaches where local practitioners agree on joint actions to support an individual child. Some structures designed to support co-professional working have however proved transitory. Scottish examples include rapid policy changes related to multiservice community schools; mergers and demergers of education and social services at local authority level; and continuous reconfigurations of community health services. This chapter is predicated on the assumption that managerial structures will continue to change during many professionals’ working lives, and that new structures will not remove all tensions inherent in co-working. Other ways will have to be found to improve the experience, and thereby the practice, of working together.