Recent Submissions

  • Researching sensitive topics with children and young people: ethical practice and blurry boundaries

    Ellis, Katie; Hickle, Kristine; Warrington, Camille; University of Sheffield; University of Sussex; University of Bedfordshire (SAGE Publications Inc., 2023-10-19)
    Despite representing a vast and global concern, the narratives of children who experience child sexual exploitation (CSE) and access associated services are marginalised within research. As an outcome, relatively little is known about how children cope with the impact and consequences of their experiences. This paper draws together methodological insights from researchers reflecting upon three distinct pieces of qualitative fieldwork conducted with children and young people considered ‘vulnerable’ to, and ‘at risk of’, CSE. In doing so, we seek to recognise the challenges encountered when conducting research with vulnerable populations and explore the ‘blurry boundaries’ that researchers tread in order to balance competing power dynamics. This paper will discuss potential safeguarding concerns that arise when conducting sensitive research and will share our experiences of supporting young people to take part in research around child sexual exploitation. We will reflect upon the research process to highlight some of the strategies adopted to enable young people to engage in data collection safely. We consider the dynamic ethical practices that take place in the moment of research encounters, alongside the framework of procedural ethics, to conclude that both are fundamental to enable meaningful participation in research.
  • Participation and involvement

    Shephard, Laura (Russell House Publishing, 2023-07-24)
    Participation is the process by which people who use social work services have a say in the decisions that are made about what their care needs are, and how these needs are to be met. A focus on children’s participation has grown over the past thirty years against an international backdrop of calls for children to be seen as citizens with rights, rather than as objects of concern. One of the main barriers to effective participation is the adult tendency to view childhood as a time of passivity and vulnerability. Professionals’ concerns about risk can lead them to make decisions for children rather than with them. Social workers can support children’s participation when the relationship between them is one that enables the child to fully express their views about aspects that matter in their lives, and to trust that their wishes will be taken seriously and acted upon wherever possible.
  • The voice of the victim in police service design

    Hurcombe, Rachel; Sadullah, Adam; Ilett, Camille; Davis, Hanna; Hawkins, Kristina; Allnock, Debra; The Vulnerability Knowledge and Practice Programme (The Vulnerability Knowledge and Practice Programme, 2023-10-13)
    This research explores how the voices of vulnerable victim-survivors and those experiencing structural inequalities contribute to police service design. The project has four overarching research questions: 1. What processes enable victim-survivor voices to influence and shape service design in policing, i.e. how are victim-survivor voices sought, collected, recorded and reported? 2. What changes are made to service design as a result of victim-survivor voices? 3. What impact do these processes and changes have on victim-survivors and on policing? 4. What needs to be in place for this type of work to be effective?
  • Victims’ voices and experiences in response and investigation: a study of police personnel in England and Wales in responding to vulnerability-related risk and harm

    Denyer, Kayleigh; Afzal, Halima; Brown, Sian; Fernandes-Aguilera, Milena; Allnock, Debra; The Vulnerability Knowledge and Practice Programme (The Vulnerability Knowledge and Practice Programme, 2023-10-13)
    Victims’ Voices and Experiences in Response and Investigation is a mixed-methods research project conducted by the VKPP that aimed to explore perceptions, attitudes, and behaviours towards capturing the ‘voice of the victim’ among police personnel, particularly those involved in safeguarding and investigative practice. Personnel is the term used throughout this report to refer to both police officers and staff and is inclusive of all roles and ranks. This research project is separate, but complementary, to a second project: Victim-Survivor Voices in Service Design (VKPP, 2023).
  • Public perceptions of violence against women

    Nascimento, Bruna S.; Shishane, Kwanele; Russell, Natalie (Springer, Cham, 2023-10-17)
  • Competition, scandal, or ideology? a congruence analysis of Australian political finance reforms (1980–2020)

    Horncastle, William C.R,; ; University of Birmingham (Sage, 2023-09-29)
    Although studies into political finance reform have become commonplace, many questions remain unanswered in this area. Studies into links between scandals and political finance reform have provided conflicting findings, while little is known about why incumbents force through self-serving reforms in some instances, but cooperate with rivals in others. The ‘General Theory of Campaign Finance Reform’ reconciles inconsistencies by situating reform processes within the context of party competition. Observing that this framework has not yet been empirically tested, this study undertakes a Congruence Analysis to apply the model to a 40-year period of Australian political finance reform. Hansard is used to document inter-party interactions, in conjunction with quantitative indicators of party competition, organization, and ideology, which outline the changing contexts of reform. Findings indicate that party competition, scandals, and changes in incumbency are influential drivers of reform, while ideological factors play an inconsistent role. Providing insights into causal processes of reform, this article bridges the gap between theoretical and empirical literature on political finance.
  • Intersectionality, vulnerability and foot health inequity

    Almeida, Joana; Brocklehurst, Jonathan; Sharples, Adrienne; ; University of Bedfordshire; SMAE Institute (Springer, 2023-10-26)
    Foot health and wellbeing in the UK are often overlooked in healthcare. Foot health outcomes are strongly interlinked to the social determinants of health, in that the way these determinants intersect can impact an individual's vulnerability to foot pain and disorders. In this commentary we explore some social determinants that hinder individuals from improving their foot health behaviour and ultimately reducing foot pain and foot disorder vulnerability. We focus on socioeconomic status, gender, disability, age, culture and ethnicity, and footwear quality; we also highlight the potential impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and the cost-of-living crisis on foot health inequities; rises in inflation have resulted in footcare becoming less affordable among vulnerable groups, like those with intellectual disabilities and chronic illness, older people, those living in rural and inner-city communities, and the ethnically and linguistically diverse population living in the UK. There is an urgent need to raise awareness of the social determinants of foot health, their intersectionality, and their impact on foot pain and disorder vulnerability. Despite the Black Report and both Marmot Reviews, little progress has been made in raising this awareness. It is recommended to widen the range of foot health interventions, by including it in GP consultations, developing cultural sensitivity within foot health services, creating more comprehensive educational foot health programmes, and developing a more sustainable footwear industry.
  • Local geographies of health inequalities

    Gatrell, Anthony; Bennett, Sharon; Bostock, Lisa; Thomas, Carol; Popay, Jennie; Williams, Gareth (Ashgate Press, 2004-02-28)
    Examines local geographries of health inequalities in two cities in the North of England.
  • Historical data for health inequalities

    Mallinson, Sara; Popay, Jennie; Elliott, Eva; Bennett, Sharon; Bostock, Lisa; Gatrell, Anthony; Thomas, Carol; Williams, Gareth (Bloomsbury Publishing, 2008-04-28)
    This study uses local historical archives and oral histories to map historical factors that may be impotant in understanding contemporary inequalities in health. Focusing on housing clearances in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, the pilot study drew on a wide range of materials (documentary and oral) to explore how changes to local housing impacted upon the local social and psychological landscape.
  • Understanding health inequalities: locating people in geographical and social spaces

    Gatrell, Anthony; Thomas, Carol; Bennett, Sharon; Bostock, Lisa; Popay, Jennie; Williams, Gareth (Open University Press, 2000-12-16)
    To understand the impact of place on health inequalities in two cities in the North of England.
  • Finding a foothold? transport policy, health inequality and the place of walking

    Bostock, Lisa (Nova Science Publishers, Inc., 2003-05-01)
    Focuses on walking as a mode of transport for mother's on low income and it's impact on health and wellbeing.
  • Scaling and deepening reclaiming social work model: longitudinal follow up evaluation report

    Bostock, Lisa; Newlands, Fiona; University of Bedfordshire (Department for Education, 2020-09-01)
    Scaling and Deepening the Reclaiming Social Work model aimed to embed ‘Reclaiming Social Work’ (RSW) in 5 local authorities (Buckinghamshire, Derbyshire, Harrow, Hull and Southwark). RSW was a whole-system reform that aimed to deliver systemic practice in children’s services. Key elements included: (1) in-depth training; (2) small units; (3) group systemic case discussions; (4) clinician support; and (5) enhanced administrative support. To assess the longer-term impact of RSW, 4 out of the 5 local authorities (Derbyshire, Harrow, Hull and Southwark) agreed to participate in the longitudinal follow-up study. Data were collected 3 years after the original project was completed. To protect anonymity, local authorities are numbered. Key messages include: * Key elements of RSW remained in place to some degree in all local authorities. However, only one (LA5) retained all 5 key elements. LA5 had also strengthened its clinician input, creating a clinical service with clear governance structures that enabled access to clinical consultation and direct work with family members * Commitment to retaining RSW’s key elements was dependent on local context, including strong leadership and responses to findings from Ofsted inspections. Wider developments in approaches to social work practice, such as Signs of Safety have also shaped local practice models * Staff consistently identified the following conditions as being associated with practice improvement: training in systemic practice; the quality of systemically-informed supervision; and contribution of a clinician in supervision * Families valued practice that was relational, goal focused and non-judgemental. They also emphasised the hopefulness associated with systemic social work practice
  • Focus on Practice in three London boroughs: round 2 evaluation report

    Menon, Priya; Ogunshakin, Sheyi; Saunders, Charlotte; Conlon, Gavan; Ladher, Rohit; Pate, Luke; Lynch, Amy; Munro, Emily; Bostock, Lisa; Department for Education; et al. (Department for Education, 2020-09-01)
    The Focus on Practice (FoP) programme, introduced in June 2014 across 3 London boroughs - London Borough of Westminster, Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (RBKC) and the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham (LBHF) - brought systemic practice to family social work. The introduction of this programme was expected to lead to a new cultural norm for practitioners based on systemic theory, reduce the number of families who are repeat clients and reduce the number of children in care. Kantar’s Public Division was commissioned to conduct a follow-up evaluation in 2018 that builds on the findings of the Round 1 evaluation by assessing the longer-term impacts. In parallel, TGC was commissioned to undertake a supplementary evaluation. The University of Bedfordshire evaluation focused on understanding the quality of systemic social work practice across the 3 boroughs using observational methods.
  • Beyond ‘Beer, fags, egg and chips’? : exploring lay understandings of social inequalities in health

    Popay, Jennie; Bennett, Sharon; Thomas, Carol; Williams, Gareth; Gatrell, Anthony; Bostock, Lisa; (Wiley, 2003-02-20)
    This paper seeks to contribute to the limited body of work that has directly explored lay understandings of the causes of health inequalities. Using both quantitative and qualitative methodology, the views of people living in contrasting socio-economic neighbourhoods are compared. The findings support previous research in suggesting that lay theories about causality in relation to health inequalities, like lay concepts of health and illness in general, are multi-factorial. The findings, however, also illustrate how the ways in which questions about health and illness are asked shape people’s responses. In the survey reported on here people had no problem offering explanations for health inequalities and, in response to a question asking specifically about area differences in health experience, people living in disadvantaged areas ‘constructed’ explanations which included, but went beyond, individualistic factors to encompass structural explanations that gave prominence to aspects of ‘place’. In contrast, within the context of in-depth interviews, people living in disadvantaged areas were reluctant to accept the existence of health inequalities highlighting the moral dilemmas such questions pose for people living in poor material circumstances. While resisting the notion of health inequalities, however, in in-depth interviews the same people provided vivid accounts of the way in which inequalities in material circumstances have an adverse impact upon health. The paper highlights ways in which different methodologies provide different and not necessarily complementary understandings of lay perspectives on the causes of inequalities in health.
  • A proper place to live: health inequalities, agency and the normative dimensions of space

    Popay, Jennie; Thomas, Carol; Williams, Gareth; Bennett, Sharon; Gatrell, Anthony; Bostock, Lisa; ; University of Lancaster; Cardiff University; University of Salford (Elsevier, 2003-07-01)
    This paper explores the links between lay knowledge, place and health related social action (or agency) at the individual and collective level. It is based on an analysis of in-depth interviews and neighbourhood survey data across four localities in two cities in the North West of England. The qualitative analysis has identified ‘guidelines’ that we argue provide socially shared understandings of the normative contours of ‘proper places’ which shape the way people respond to the everyday lived reality of places. The quantitative findings suggest that a substantial minority of people, particularly in disadvantaged areas, are exposed to significant dissonance between the normative dimensions and lived experience of place. The analysis points to potential interactions between individual and collective action which may affect the health of individuals and populations and ‘ontological fit’—people’s ability to (re) construct a positive identity despite living in what they and others perceive to be an ‘improper’ place. This is linked to their biographical connections with particular places and the extent to which they can localise problems and people in places at a distance from themselves. The paper contributes to understanding about the processes that generate inequalities in the health experience of people living in sharply contrasting socio-economic circumstances as well as finer-grained health inequalities between the ‘poor’ and the ‘poorest’.
  • Contextual safeguarding: the next chapter

    Firmin, Carlene; Lloyd, Jenny (Bristol University Press, 2023-07-20)
    How do we respond to harm faced by young people beyond their front doors? Can practitioners keep young people safe at school, in their neighbourhoods or with their friends when social care systems are designed to work with families? The Contextual Safeguarding approach has transformed how policy makers, social care leaders, practitioners and researchers understand harm that happens to young people in their communities and what is required to respond. Since 2015 it has been tested across the UK and internationally. This book shares stories from child sexual exploitation, child criminal exploitation and peer violence about what has been learnt on this journey. For anyone interested in how we safeguard young people beyond their front doors, this book shows how much we have achieved and raises big questions about what more we need to do to ensure young people are safe – whatever the context.
  • What can we learn from multi-agency meetings to address extra-familial harm to young people?

    Bostock, Lisa (Bristol University Press, 2023-07-20)
    Multi-agency panel meetings to address extra-familial harm (EFH) are an integral part of the safeguarding landscape. In recent times, there has been a proliferation of such meetings with the aim of creating safety for young people. Yet little is known about what happens in these meetings or what difference they make to lives of young people at risk or experiencing EFH. This chapter is based on 16 meeting observations across three sites. It presents practitioner talk within meetings to illuminate the degree to which they align with the four domains of Contextual Safeguarding and position young people’s perspectives as pivotal to the development of safeguarding responses within extra-familial contexts. It identifies a series of essential features to ensure that meetings move beyond “talking and tasking” and focus on actions that really are ‘actions’ to intervene in contexts of concern rather than over-relying on tasking practitioners to gather more information.
  • Factors that promote and hinder joint working between health and social care

    Cameron, Ailsa; Lart, Rachel; Coomber, Caroline; Bostock, Lisa (Wiley, 2013-06-11)
    This article reports the results of a review of the research evidence related to joint working in the field of adult health and social care services in the UK. It explores whether recent reforms to joint working have met the objectives set by policy makers. The review followed an established methodology: electronic databases were searched using predetermined terms, abstracts were screened against inclusion criteria, studies that met the criteria were read in full and assessed for inclusion and data was extracted systematically. The findings of the review suggest that there is some indication that recent developments, in particular the drive to greater integration of services, may have positive benefits for organisations as well as for users and carers of services. However, the evidence consistently reports a lack of understanding about the aims and objectives of integration suggesting that more work needs to be done if the full potential of the renewed policy agenda on integration is to be realised. Additionally whilst the review acknowledges that greater emphasis has been placed on evaluating the outcome of joint working studies largely report small-scale evaluations of local initiatives and few are comparative in design, so differences between ‘usual care’ and integrated care are not assessed. This makes it difficult to draw firm conclusions about the effectiveness of UK-based integrated health and social care services.
  • Contested housing landscapes: deinstitutionalisation, social inclusion and housing policy in Australia

    Bostock, Lisa; Gleeson, Brendan; McPherson, Ailsa; Pang, Lillian (Wiley, 2016-12-22)
    Deinstitutionalisation is represented as a major step toward social inclusion through the resettlement of disabled people residing in segregated large-scale institutions into community-based homes. By promoting the right to live in ordinary community residential settings, deinstitutionalisation fundamentally changes both the support services and housing arrangements of former institutional residents. In Australia, as in many Western countries, debates on community care have tended to focus on the location and nature of non-housing supports for people leaving dependent care. This focus, however, overlooks the fact that deinstitutionalisation involves a radical rehousing of people in care. This paper explores the character and implications of deinstitutionalisation in Australia as a rehousing process. It is based on a recent national research project that has examined the housing futures of people with intellectual disability who have been, or will be, deinstitutionalised. The paper considers the increasingly divergent socio-political perspectives that have emerged in recent discussions about social inclusion, institutional reform and independent living and their implications for housing and community care policies.
  • Historical data for health inequalities research: a research note

    Mallinson, Sara; Popay, Jennie; Elliott, Eva; Bennett, Sharon; Bostock, Lisa; Gatrell, Anthony; Thomas, Carol; Williams, Gareth; (SAGE, 2003-11-01)
    In 1999–2000, a pilot study was conducted to assess the feasibility of using local historical archives and oral histories to map historical factors that may be important in understanding contemporary variations in health. Focusing on housing clearances in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, the pilot study drew on a wide range of materials (documentary and oral) to explore how changes to local housing impacted upon the local social and psychological landscape. This research note considers methodological issues relevant to the use of documentary and oral history resources and illustrates the value of the historical resources we identified. We suggest that, on the basis of this pilot research, future explorations of the link between places and inequalities in health should incorporate an historical analysis.

View more