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A Cognitive Mask? Camouflaging Dilemmas in Street-Level Policy Implementation to Safeguard Older People from Abuse / A. Ash

British Journal of Social Work, Volume: 43, Issue: 1, Pages: 99 - 115

Swansea University Author: Ash, Angie

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DOI (Published version): 10.1093/bjsw/bcr161

Abstract

<p> </p><p><span style="font-family: Times; font-size: small;">National policy to safeguard older people from abuse in England and Wales gives social services the lead role in coordinating local multi-agency adult safeguarding procedures,. With the exception of Lips...

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Published in: British Journal of Social Work
ISSN: 0045-3102 1468-263X
Published: 2013
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URI: https://cronfa.swan.ac.uk/Record/cronfa6790
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Abstract: <p> </p><p><span style="font-family: Times; font-size: small;">National policy to safeguard older people from abuse in England and Wales gives social services the lead role in coordinating local multi-agency adult safeguarding procedures,. With the exception of Lipsky’s (1980) work on street-level bureaucracy, relatively little research attention has considered the day-to-day reality of  social workers charged with implementing public policy. This article reports findings of multi-method research carried out in a social services department in Wales to identify the constraints and realities social workers faced when implementing policy to protect older people from abuse.  Data sources were 33 social workers and managers and local adult safeguarding documentation and statistics.  Methods included semi-structured interviews, focus groups, observed meetings,  and documentary and statistical analysis of adult protection activity.  The research found the dilemmas social workers grappled with were inherent in the structure of their work, as Lipsky had proposed. Dilemmas included known poor practice and quality in some care services;  resource shortfalls; and delays in investigating alleged elder abuse. The paper concludes by developing the metaphor of a ‘cognitive mask’ to describe how social workers manage the dissonance arising from dilemmas inherent in the context of their work to safeguard elders, and it suggests how this ‘mask’ can be removed.</span></p>
Keywords: Elder abuse, Quality of care, Street-level bureaucracy, Challenge of poor practice.
College: College of Human and Health Sciences
Issue: 1
Start Page: 99
End Page: 115