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Working in the public sector: a case study of social services

Coffey, M, Dugdill, L and Tattersall, A 2009, 'Working in the public sector: a case study of social services' , Journal of Social Work, 9 (4) , pp. 1-23.

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Abstract

Summary: This article explores working conditions and quality of life in social services. The article focuses on the qualitative findings generated throughout a phased study comprising: in-depth interviews (n = 8) used to develop an original questionnaire; a large survey (n = 1237) of staff in two social service departments in the UK; and focus groups (n = 4) used in Children and Families Division to develop a better understanding of the difficulties experienced and develop context-specific interventions aimed at reducing or eliminating these stressors. It also reports quantitative findings in respect stress (measured using the General Health Questionnaire – GHQ-12). Findings: The survey findings indicated that 36 percent (n = 392) of the respondents were considered to be suffering from mental distress. Children and Families Division was worst affected, reporting the highest levels of absenteeism and poorest well-being. The qualitative findings were summarized into five broad themes: organizational culture and function; control; lack of resources; responsibility for people; and the rate and pace of change, which were incorporated into a model. Application: The article suggests that during times of change a thorough understanding of working conditions in the public sector are a fundamental prerequisite to developing interventions aimed at improving them. Additionally, the model clearly identifies a number of factors that are‘organizational’, rather than being intrinsic to working in social services.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: public sector social work stress workforce working conditions
Themes: Subjects / Themes > H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Subjects / Themes > H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare
Subjects outside of the University Themes
Schools: Colleges and Schools > College of Health & Social Care > School of Health Sciences > Centre for Health Sciences Research
Colleges and Schools > College of Health & Social Care
Colleges and Schools > College of Health & Social Care > School of Nursing, Midwifery, Social Work & Social Sciences > Centre for Social Justice Research
Journal or Publication Title: Journal of Social Work
Publisher: SAGE Publications
Refereed: Yes
ISSN: 1468-0173
Depositing User: Users 29196 not found.
Date Deposited: 26 Feb 2010 10:42
Last Modified: 06 Jun 2014 07:24
URI: http://usir.salford.ac.uk/id/eprint/3125

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