12,000

We have over 12,000 students, from over 100 countries, within one of the safest campuses in the UK

93%

93% of Lancaster students go into work or further study within six months of graduating

Home > Research > Publications & Outputs > When policy o'erleaps itself
View graph of relations

« Back

When policy o'erleaps itself: the 'tragic tale' of the Integrated Children's System

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published

Journal publication date08/2010
JournalCritical Social Policy
Journal number3
Volume30
Number of pages25
Pages405-429
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Information technology plays a pivotal role in New Labour’s modernization programme. Here we report findings from a 2 year ethnographic study of the impact and origin of one such system, the Integrated Children’s System, which has been deployed in statutory children’s social care. We show how the ICS, by attempting to micro-manage work through a rigid performance management regime, and a centrally prescribed practice model, has disrupted the professional task, engendering a range of unsafe practices and provoking a gathering storm of user resistance. We attribute these paradoxical outcomes to inherent flaws in the design of ICS, which derive from the history of its development and its embodiment of an audit-driven, inspectorial ideology. We conclude with some suggestions for user-centred design and policymaking, which have relevance not only for children’s social care but for the public services in general.