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Chapter 4 Boundary crossing (Book chapter)

Authors: ---
ISBN: 9780367182915 9780429060687 Year: Pages: 20 Language: English
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Subject: Social and Public Welfare
Added to DOAB on : 2019-05-28 11:21:11

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Child safeguarding has come to the forefront of public debate in the UK in
the aftermath of a series of highly publicised incidents of child sexual
exploitation and abuse. These have exposed the inadequacies and failings
of inter-organisational relations between police and key partners. While
the discourse of policing partnerships is now accepted wisdom, progress
has been distinctly hesitant. This paper contributes to understanding both
the challenges and opportunities presented through working across
organisational boundaries in the context of safeguarding children. It draws
on a study of relations within one of the largest Safeguarding Children
partnerships in England, developing insights from Etienne Wenger
regarding the potential of ‘communities of practice’ that innovate on the
basis of everyday learning through ‘boundary work’. We demonstrate how
such networked approaches expose the differential power relations and
sites of conflict between organisations but also provide possibilities to
challenge introspective cultures and foster organisational learning. We
argue that crucial in cultivating effective ‘communities of practice’ are:
shared commitment and purpose; relations of trust; balanced exchange of
information and resources; mutual respect for difference; and an open and
mature dialogue over possible conflicts. Boundary crossing can open
opportunities to foster increased reflexivity among policing professionals,
prompting critical self-reflection on values, ongoing reassessment of
assumptions and questioning of terminology. Yet, there is an inherent
tension in that the learning and innovative potential afforded by emergent
‘communities of practice’ derives from the coexistence and interplay
between both the depth of knowledge within practices and active
boundaries across practices.

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