Social defences and organisational culture in a local authority child protection setting: Challenges for the Munro review?

Whittaker, Andrew (2011) Social defences and organisational culture in a local authority child protection setting: Challenges for the Munro review? Journal of Social Work Practice, 25 (4). pp. 481-495. ISSN 0265-0533

Full text not yet available from this repository.

Abstract/Book Review

The study of social defences against anxiety used within institutions has a long history, beginning with the seminal work of Isobel Menzies Lyth, who examined the reasons for the high rate of nursing students dropping out of their professional training within a large London teaching hospital. She identified a range of social defences used by nursing staff to manage the anxieties inherent within their work, including ritual task performance, reducing the weight of responsibility by checks and counterchecks and reduction of the impact of responsibility by upward delegation. British social work is haunted by the memories of children known to social services who have died. The anxieties experienced by child protection social workers derive from a variety of sources, ranging from daily exposure to powerful emotions within the families and other professionals that they work with to an awareness of a history of public inquiries and media coverage that has influenced public perceptions of their profession. Menzies Lyth's study is over 50 years old and this article will provide a critical analysis of whether this theoretical framework is useful for understanding contemporary child protection social work. Preliminary data from an on-going ethnographic study of local authority childcare teams are used to illustrate the discussion, indicating that similar defences are used within current child protection practice. The implications for the organisational culture in child protection social work and for changes proposed by the Munro Review will be explored, particularly the emotional aspects of organisational change.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Child Protection, Anxiety, Defences, Organisational Culture, Ethnography, Psychoanalysis
Subjects: Children, Young People and Developmental Pyschology > Child Protection
Department/People: Children, Young Adult and Family Services
Depositing User: Ms Linda Dolben
Date Deposited: 11 Mar 2012 16:52
Last Modified: 09 Feb 2016 10:28
URI: http://repository.tavistockandportman.ac.uk/id/eprint/592

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item