Devolved budgets in children’s social care: a logic model based on three pilot evaluations

Westlake, D, Corliss, C, Thompson, S, Meindl, M, Diaz, Clive ORCID: 0000-0002-2349-9479, Talwar, R and Folkes, Louise ORCID: 0000-0002-7857-6953 (2022) Devolved budgets in children’s social care: a logic model based on three pilot evaluations. British Journal of Social Work, 52 (7). pp. 3999-4020. doi:10.1093/bjsw/bcac019

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A lack of basic resources and financial difficulties affect many families and increase risks to children. Social workers’ ability to help is limited by scarce resources, and managers usually control the financial and material help that is available, making it difficult to access directly. This article reports on a mixed methods evaluation of ‘devolved budgets’ (DBs), an intervention where social workers could use up to £10,000 to help families directly and reduce the need for children to enter care. The devolution of decision making to workers was a key feature of the intervention, and many needed encouragement and support to use DBs, exercised caution and spent less than expected. Resources were used to access additional help quickly, though often in circumstances where there was no immediate likelihood of a child entering care. We present a logic model which delineates two pathways through which we theorise DBs to operate: by (1) resources being dedicated to a family’s needs and (2) improved worker–family relationships. By illustrating the erosion of practical support within the social work role, our findings substantiate critiques of managerialism. As a way forward, we argue for greater trust in social workers’ judgement.

Item Type: Article
Article Type: Article
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology. > HV40-69 Social Work
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Business, Computing and Social Sciences
Research Priority Areas: Society and Learning
Depositing User: Louise Folkes
Date Deposited: 24 Feb 2022 14:11
Last Modified: 14 Feb 2024 04:15

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