Chapter 7 seeks to explain why regional variation in resources and beliefs exist. Building on Holliday’s construct of ‘small cultures’, this chapter examines the organisational cultures of the child guidance centres (CGC). The absence of a social work profession increases the importance of each individual CGC.

This chapter outlines the mechanisms that create different organisational cultures in different local authority CGCs. It first examines the decision-making process, considering how risk is understood and mitigated. The chapter then looks at how differences in the length of service of the staff, staff training, and the degree of staff specialisation affect how knowledge is acquired, retained, and used to inform policy and practice change. The role of senior managers is understood as being central to shaping policy implementation, most visible in how meetings are used differently in different local authorities.