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  • 2018carlickphd

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Creative art-based technologies for interagency working together for safeguarding children and young people

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

Published
Publication date2018
Number of pages326
QualificationPhD
Awarding Institution
Supervisors/Advisors
Publisher
  • Lancaster University
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Children themselves rarely engage directly with the child protection system unless they are already referred into the system by a third party adult. New technologies have enabled children to communicate in different ways than previously. A guiding question for this thesis is whether one type of technology access, that of an application or ‘app’, could also facilitate children’s direct access for advice, help and response from the child protection system in the UK. The current UK policy emphasis on child-focused systems and outcomes (Munro, 2011) forms a background to this thesis, which aims to identify the work required to co-produce new ways of working at the front door of child protection to extend the current socio-technical framework to improve outcomes for children. Past and present social and political developments in UK child protection and early help, a data review of smart phone apps relating to managing risk and safeguarding, and a comparison of the use of technology in related settings provide an overview of the context within which socio-technical change can occur.
The underpinning methodology recognises a crucial factor in the successful design and implementation of socio-technical change: that any proposed alteration to existing ways of working must also be adopted by a range of gatekeepers to the system, including practitioners in social work, the police, health and education, who may identify barriers and present challenges to implementation. Two separate weeks of ethnographic observation were focused on the use of technology in information management in a Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH). Data on the child’s perspective on technology and app design for safeguarding was collected through school-based workshops. A co-produced design of an application is proposed as a way of sharing information and communication pathways for multi-agency professionals and children/young people.
The project offers new ideas for promoting a child-centred approach to safeguarding. In doing so, it proposes the design principles of a digital platform consisting of a smart phone application. The proposed application is an extension of the traditional early intervention child protection discourse that will capture children’s social media conversations and stories connected to keeping themselves safe. It will also include educational ‘stay safe’ age-appropriate games and twenty-four/seven access to multi-agency advice and guidance. Challenges for app adoption are changes to the police communication departments and the creation of a localised children’s MASH to provide digital responses for self-referrals.