Understanding the use of the Common Assessment Framework: exploring the implications for frontline professionals
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AbstractCurrent legislation, within England, states that local authorities should provide services for all those families in need, while also setting thresholds for access to these services. However, research has identified that regardless of the introduction of strategies to identify need and enhance family support, on-going barriers to services remain. This study took a social constructionist approach to explore professionals’ experiences of the use of the Common Assessment Framework form and multiagency working. Data were collected in four different local authorities in the South East of England, in two phases: phase one February 2011 to February 2012, phase two July to September 2014. Phase one was intended to focus on the experiences of both professionals and families in one Local Authority (LA). However, as a result of a difficulty in accessing families the research was refocused to professionals’ experiences and use of the CAF alone. Phase two was extended to three further LAs. Forty one professionals, from a variety of agencies, took part in semistructured interviews individually or in a group. Data were analysed utilising thematic analysis (Braun & Clarke 2006). Conclusions are from a small scale study and so cannot be generalised. However, findings suggested professional use of the CAF was dictated by local authority policy. Two issues emanated from this. Firstly, as the local authorities adopted the policy of utilising the CAF as a referral mechanism, rather than for its intended purpose, to assess needs, professionals perceived the CAF form as a referral tool, rather than an assessment tool. Secondly, the range of professionals utilising the CAF was diverse. This diversity necessitates suitable training to accommodate the various professionals and their backgrounds. However, in this study, such training was largely lacking. Additionally professionals found multi-agency working, required by the CAF process, problematic, time consuming, and onerous. However, experienced and knowledgeable professionals were seen to utilise creative ways in which to successfully navigate the ‘referral process’. A further finding of the study is that there were key differences in regard to the ways in which diverse professional groups view safeguarding for adolescents. Recommendations for future research, policy and local authority use of the CAF form have been made.
CitationNethercott, K. (2014) 'Understanding the use of the Common Assessment Framework: exploring the implications for frontline professionals'
PublisherUniversity of Bedfordshire
TypeThesis or dissertation
DescriptionA thesis submitted to the University of Bedfordshire in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
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