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  • Contribution of the voluntary sector to mental health crisis care in England: Protocol for a multimethod study

    Newbigging, Karen; Mohan, John; Rees, James; Harlock, Jenny; Davis, Alex; Health Services Management Centre, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK. (BMJ Publishing Group, 2017-11-08)
    Introduction Timely access to the right kind of support for people experiencing a mental health crisis can be problematic. The voluntary sector (VS) plays a key role in providing support and enabling access, but there is a knowledge gap concerning its contribution and interface with public services in mental health crisis care. This study aims to address this. Methods and analysis The study has three empirical elements: (1) a national survey of voluntary sector organisations (VSOs) in England and national stakeholder interviews to develop a typology of organisations and interventions provided by VSOs; (2) detailed mapping of VS services in two regions through interviews and extending the national survey; (3) four case studies, identified from the regional mapping, of VS mental health crisis services and their interface with National Health Service (NHS) and local authority services, at both a system and individual level. Data collection will involve interviews with commissioners; VSO and NHS or local authority providers; and focus groups with people who have experience of VSO crisis support, both service users and carers; and mapping the crisis trajectory of 10 service users in each study site through narrative interviews with service users and informal carers to understand the experience of VSO crisis care and its impact. Ethics and dissemination The University of Birmingham Humanities and Social Sciences Ethical Review Committee granted ethical approval (reference ERN-16-1183) for the national and regional elements of the study. Ethical review by the Health Research Authority will be required for the case study research once the sites have been identified from the first two elements of the study. A range of methods including a policy seminar, publication in academic journals and a tool kit for commissioners and practitioners will be produced to maximise the impact of the findings on policy and practice.
  • Birmingham City Council’s adult social care prevention portfolio – Review of the performance evaluation framework: Final report

    Hopley, Rachel; Castro Bilbrough, André; Wilson, Sophie; Caulfield, Laura (University of Wolverhampton and Birmingham Voluntary Service Council, 2022-01)
  • Multiple and complex needs in the West Midlands: Research briefing paper

    Hopley, Rachel; Caulfield, Laura (University of Wolverhampton, 2021-01)
  • Opening the ‘black box’: Organisational adaptation and resistance to institutional isomorphism in a prime-led employment services programme

    Rees, James; Taylor, Rebecca; Damm, Chris (SAGE, 2022-08-17)
    The UK’s Work Programme (2012-18) was a major employment services programme, inspired by new public management principles. A relatively small number of directly commissioned ‘prime providers’ were paid by the central Government largely according to the number of job-outcomes their service users achieved but were given a ‘black box’ to design their own services and subcontracting arrangements. Drawing on an empirical study of subcontracted service providers, and focusing on those from the third sector, the paper shows that within this prime-led commissioning model, subcontractors came under sustained pressure to adjust their operational practices. We draw on institutional isomorphism to show that isomorphic pressures were experienced because of both the design and implementation of the Work Programme. Although there were strong pressures pushing towards convergence, however, the different starting positions of subcontractors meant that these changes were not entirely deterministic and some attempts at resistance were observed amongst third sector providers. Their diverse institutional contexts, including positioning and wider interest in the field, shaped how they navigated and responded to isomorphic pressures, ultimately mitigating homogenisation. The paper contributes a more sophisticated understanding of the ways in which provider organisations experience, interpret and respond to structural pressures within an evolving quasi-market. The findings have implications for public service reform programmes featuring quasi-markets that are intended to encourage innovation and a diversity of provision, particularly when promoting mission-led, third sector organisations (TSOs).
  • An evaluation of Changing Lives’ Iris project - supporting women with experience of sex work, survival sex or sexual exploitation

    Hopley, Rachel; Sojka, Bozena; Caulfield, Laura (Institute for Community Research and Development, University of Wolverhampton, 2021-05)
  • The public sector and co-creation in turbulent times: A systematic literature review on robust governance in the COVID-19 emergency

    Scognamiglio, Fulvio; Sancino, Alessandro; Caló, Francesca; Jacklin‐Jarvis, Carol; Rees, James (Wiley, 2022-08-02)
    The capacity of public sector of co-creating with other stakeholders is challenged by the increasing presence of disruptive turbulent events, such as the COVID-19. At this regard, robustness has been identified as a suitable response to deal with this kind of events. Through a systematic literature review, we analyzed how public sector organizations have co-created with other actors during the COVID-19 and what have been the contribution of robust governance strategies. Our findings point firstly to the empirical validity of the robustness concept, providing evidence of the extensive use of robust governance strategies into the co-creation processes. Second, we identified a configurational approach to robustness, with governments co-creating by simultaneously employing several robust strategies. Thirdly, we observed a more active involvement of societal stakeholders, with emergence of proto-institutions and potential threats to the political system.
  • Exploring pregnant women’s experiences of stopping smoking with an incentive scheme with ‘enhanced’ support: a qualitative study

    McCormack, Fiona C; Hopley, Rachel; Boath, Elizabeth H; Parry, Sian L; Roscoe, Suzie M; Stewart, Antony; Birch, Victoria A (SAGE, 2022-07-05)
    Aim: This study aims to understand pregnant women’s experiences of smoking cessation with an incentive scheme in a deprived UK city. This is important because smoking cessation with pregnant women is one of the most crucial public health initiatives to promote, and is particularly challenging in deprived areas. While financial incentive schemes are controversial, there is a need to better understand pregnant women’s experiences. The scheme combined quasi-financial incentives (shopping vouchers) for validated quits (carbon monoxide (CO) validated at < 10 ppm), enhanced support from smoking cessation advisors, the opportunity to identify a ‘Significant Other Supporter’ and nicotine replacement therapy. Methods: With the focus on understanding pregnant women’s experiences, a qualitative design was adopted. Semi-structured interviews were completed with 12 pregnant women from the scheme, and the three advisors. All interviews were transcribed, and thematic analysis conducted. Results: Pregnant women reported various challenges to quitting, including long-established routines, and stress. Participants were aware of stigma around incentives but were all very positive about the scheme. The relationship with advisors was described as fundamental. The women valued their advice and support, while uptake of the ‘Significant Other Supporter’ appeared low. Participants viewed the CO monitoring as ‘an incentive’, while the vouchers were framed as a ‘bonus’. Advisors perceived the vouchers as helping engage pregnant women and maintain quit status, and women appreciated the vouchers both as financial assistance and recognition of their accomplishments. Conclusion: This study highlights the great value women placed on the support, advice and monitoring from specialist advisors. The distinction between vouchers as a welcomed bonus, rather than ‘the incentive’ to engage, is important. How smoking cessation and schemes to promote this are communicated to pregnant women and health professionals is important, particularly given the stigma and controversy involved.
  • Hard work / workload: discursive constructions of teacher work in policy and practice

    Spicksley, Kathryn (Informa UK Limited, 2022-04-12)
    This paper explores contradictory constructions of teacher work across policy discourse and professional practice. It draws from a corpus-assisted critical discourse analysis of 363 political speeches published on England’s Department for Education website between 2010 and 2018, and qualitative interviews with two executive leaders working in English primary academy schools. Findings indicate a contradiction in the way that teacher work was constructed by government ministers, with hard work constructed positively as leading to improved educational outcomes, but workload negatively constructed as a problem which needed to be solved. This contradiction was echoed in school leaders’ discursive constructions of teacher work. Extending previous research on teacher workload, I raise the possibility that it is not only workload, but the requirement to navigate contradictory discursive constructions of teacher work which may cause damage to teachers’ professional identities.
  • Welfare deservingness for migrants: Does the Welfare State model matter?

    Saar, Maarja; Sojka, Bozena; Runfors, Ann (Cogitatio, 2022-03-22)
    This article draws on the idea that welfare systems and institutions are based on normative assumptions about justice, solidarity, and responsibility. Even though the literature on welfare deservingness has highlighted the connection between ideas of solidarity and the support to, for instance, people with different ethnic backgrounds, there is very little research on the interconnections of different welfare state models and ideas on how migration should be governed. This article suggests that there is a link between the welfare state models suggested by Esping‐Anderssen and different discourses on migrant welfare deservingness. The article explores the interlinkages of three welfare state models—liberal, socialdemocratic, and continental‐corporative—and four discourses on welfare deservingness of migrants in respect to social welfare—labourist, ethno‐cultural, residential, and welfarist (see Carmel & Sojka, 2020). It is suggested that the normative foundations embedded in different welfare systems lead to dissimilar ways of approaching migrants and migration.
  • Adoption and continued use of mobile contact tracing technology: multilevel explanations from a three-wave panel survey and linked data

    Horvath, Laszlo; Banducci, Susan; Blamire, Joshua; Degnen, Cathrine; James, Oliver; Jones, Andrew; Stevens, Daniel; Tyler, Katharine; Blamire (BMJ Publishing Group, 2022-01-17)
    Objective To identify the key individual-level (demographics, attitudes, mobility) and contextual (COVID-19 case numbers, tiers of mobility restrictions, urban districts) determinants of adopting the NHS COVID-19 contact tracing app and continued use overtime. Design and setting A three-wave panel survey conducted in England in July 2020 (background survey), November 2020 (first measure of app adoption) and March 2021 (continued use of app and new adopters) linked with official data. Participants N=2500 adults living in England, representative of England’s population in terms of regional distribution, age and gender (2011 census). Primary outcome Repeated measures of self-reported app usage. Analytical approach Multilevel logistic regression linking a range of individual level (from survey) and contextual (from linked data) determinants to app usage. Results We observe initial app uptake at 41%, 95% CI (0.39% to 0.43%), and a 12% drop-out rate by March 2021, 95% CI (0.10% to 0.14%). We also found that 7% of nonusers as of wave 2 became new adopters by wave 3, 95% CI (0.05% to 0.08%). Initial uptake (or failure to use) of the app associated with social norms, privacy concerns and misinformation about third-party data access, with those living in postal districts with restrictions on mobility less likely to use the app. Perceived lack of transparent evidence of effectiveness was associated with drop-out of use. In addition, those who trusted the government were more likely to adopt in wave 3 as new adopters. Conclusions Successful uptake of the contact tracing app should be evaluated within the wider context of the UK Government’s response to the crisis. Trust in government is key to adoption of the app in wave 3 while continued use is linked to perceptions of transparent evidence. Providing clear information to address privacy concerns could increase uptake, however, the disparities in continued use among ethnic minority participants needs further investigation.
  • “We will appreciate each other more after this”: Teachers' construction of collective and personal identities during lockdown

    Spicksley, Kathryn; Kington, Alison; Watkins, Maxine (Frontiers Media, 2021-08-20)
    In March 2020, schools in England were closed to all but vulnerable children and the children of key workers, as part of a national effort to curb the spread of the Covid-19 virus. Many teachers were required to work from home as remote learning was implemented. Teaching is primarily a relational profession, and previous literature acknowledges that supportive relationships with peers help to maintain teachers' resilience and commitment during challenging periods. This paper reports on findings from a small-scale study conducted in England during the first national lockdown beginning in March 2020, which explored the impact of the requirement to teach remotely on teachers' identity and peer relationships. A discourse analysis, informed by the aims and practices of discursive psychology, was conducted in order to explore the association between constructions of peer support and responses to the Covid-19 pandemic. Findings indicate that teachers who presented their professional self-identity as collective rather than personal appeared to have a more positive perspective on the difficulties caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. These findings, which have implications for policymakers and school leaders, contribute to the growing field of research on the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on education by showing the strong association between teachers' constructions of identity and their capacity to respond positively to the challenges brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • ‘A less unpalatable alternative’: Executive leaders strategically redefining their work in primary MATs

    Spicksley, Kathryn (SAGE, 2020-09-18)
    Since the election of the Coalition government in 2010, an increasing number of primary schools in England have converted to academy status. This article explores how executive leaders working in primary academies construct academy freedoms and their attitudes towards their local authorities. Interviews with four executive leaders working in two contrasting Multi-Academy Trusts were analysed using critical discourse analysis. Findings show that in these primary academies, leaders chose to discursively distance themselves from other academy schools, and instead construct themselves as continuing the best traditions of local authority support. The findings indicate that the professional identities of academy leaders, as key policy actors, have an impact on how national policy is interpreted and enacted. The discourse of these academy leaders suggests that primary academisation has led to school leaders appropriating methods of strategic redefinition, to navigate the new post-2010 education landscape and construct new professional identities.
  • Early career primary teachers’ discursive negotiations of academisation

    Spicksley, Kathryn (Routledge, 2021-12-08)
    This article reports findings from a small-scale research project which explored the professional identities of early career teachers working in primary academies in England. During interviews and focus groups, these new teachers resisted identifying as ‘academy teachers,’ constructing academy status as an unimportant feature when deciding where to work. I theorise this phenomenon using Foucault, arguing that the willingness of new teachers to construct academy schools as ‘no different’ to their maintained counterparts is a key factor in the success of post-2010 academisation as a biopolitical project.
  • The distinctiveness of smaller voluntary organisations providing welfare services

    Dayson, Chris; Bennett, Ellen; Damm, Chris; Rees, James; Jacklin-Jarvis, Carol; Patmore, Beth; Baker, Leila; Terry, Vita; Turner, Katie (Cambridge University Press, 2022-02-15)
    This article presents empirical findings about the distinctiveness of smaller voluntary sector organisations (VSOs) involved in welfare service provision, based on in-depth, qualitative case study research. We identify a series of organisational features and practices which can mean that smaller VSOs are distinctive from larger organisations. These include how they are governed and managed, their approach to their work, and their position relative to other providers. To explain our findings, we draw on the concept of stakeholder ambiguity. This idea was posited by Billis and Glennerster (1998) and is commonly cited in relation to distinctiveness. We identified several manifestations of stakeholder ambiguity and confirm the concept’s explanatory importance, although we argue that our understanding of distinctiveness is enhanced when stakeholder ambiguity is considered alongside other closely related features, such as being embedded in a local geographic community and informal, familial care-based organisational cultures. Our findings also highlight the fragility of smaller VSOs. We argue that this combination of distinctiveness and fragility creates a tension for social policy makers, many of whom recognise the value of smaller VSOs and the risks that they face but must weigh this against a requirement to allocate resources for statutory services as effectively as possible.
  • "You can’t Google everything”- voluntary sector and the leadership of communities of place

    Rees, James; Sancino, Alessandro; Jacklin-Jarvis, Carol; Pagani, Michela (SAGE, 2021-11-27)
    This paper addresses an identified absence in the place leadership literature by exploring how voluntary sector actors contribute to the leadership of place. We attempt to untangle the complex relationship between leadership, place and the voluntary sector, exploring first how understandings of both leadership and place are strengthened by the significant recent advances in the collective and critical approaches to leadership studies. We argue that collective approaches are particularly well suited to interrogating place leadership, and the voluntary sector, both of which are inherently collective endeavours. Drawing on an empirical study of locally-rooted voluntary organisations in a district in the Midlands of England, we produce a thematic analysis which highlights three core themes of the voluntary sector contribution to collective place leadership: their ability to draw on and mobilise local knowledge, their positioning in a web of dense local relationships, and the notion that their intrinsic characteristics are a key source of their distinctiveness and value to the wider ’system’ of place leadership. In drawing these empirical strands together we offer insight into the centrality of the voluntary sector in the constitution of place (a role that has long been undervalued). Further, our findings shed light on the complexity and multiplexity of leading in the collective, and particularly the extent to which the voluntary sector is constrained by wider structures and macro-dynamics.
  • Place leadership and the role of the third sector and civil society

    Potluka, O; Sancino, A; Diamond, J; Rees, J (Bristol University Press, 2021-02-09)
    Only relatively recently, place leadership has become an important debate in the leadership studies and public administration literatures. From a place leadership perspective, there is clearly a potential role for third sector organisations and the voluntary engagement that citizens can play for places through different activities, such as for example social innovation, public services provision, volunteering, civic engagement, advocacy, enhancement of the quality of life, strengthening of social bonds and social cohesion. However, the topic of civil society and third sector organisations is still neglected in research and public policy debates on place-based leadership. Our special issue aims at filling this gap.
  • Voluntary and community welfare

    Rees, James; Macmillan, Rob; Powell, Martin (Policy Press, 2019-01-16)
    Voluntary organisations and community groups have long been involved providing welfare support and services in different fields, although over time their relationships with state, commercial and informal welfare have changed. It is unlikely that their role in the mixed economy of welfare will diminish in the near future. This chapter provides an outline of the nature and scope of voluntary and community welfare, a historical overview of its role, and examines the current context, challenges and prospects faced by voluntary organisations and community groups.
  • Doctors’ views on how to improve communication and quality of care for patients experiencing end-of-life: a qualitative descriptive study

    McCormack, Fiona; Hopley, Rachel; Kurth, Judith; Iqbal, Zafar (MDPI, 2021-09-29)
    (1) Background: There remains a lack of sufficient progress in enhancing quality of care for patients experiencing end-of-life. This study aimed to better understand the views of doctors on how to improve end-of-life healthcare, in light of existing challenges and processes. (2) Methods: This qualitative descriptive study used semi-structured individual interviews. Through purposive sampling, sixteen doctors from primary care (three general practices) or acute care (one National Health Service hospital trust) participated. Interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed and thematic analysis conducted. (3) Results: Two main themes were identified: First, planning for patient-centred care—conversations about end-of-life care should take place earlier to allow for care that is planned and personalised. The need for more training and improvements to documenting patient wishes were highlighted. Second, delivering on patients’ wishes: improvements to the healthcare system—the importance of a record of patient wishes that can be shared across the system was identified. Improved utilisation of available resources is also needed to better deliver quality patient-centred care. (4) Conclusion: More effective communication and coordination across acute and primary care settings is needed. The importance of patient wishes and advance care planning was emphasised. More guidance at a strategic level may help provide clarity about expectations, roles and responsibilities.
  • Fun, lifelong relationships and a safer community: understanding collective leadership practice in a grassroots association

    Jacklin-Jarvis, Carol; Rees, James (Bristol University Press, 2021-08-31)
    The relational processes and practices that create and sustain grassroots associations have received limited attention from researchers. This article addresses this gap, exploring collective leadership of grassroots associations through a ‘leadership-as-practice’ lens (Raelin, 2016a; 2016b). It adopts the concept of ‘bundles’ of leadership practice (Schatzki, 2005) to analyse data from a single ethnographic case study. Adopting this conceptual lens, we identify a set of ‘bundles’ of related practices – organising, engaging and accounting – that constitute the enduring reality of the grassroots association’s collective leadership.
  • Social inclusion, immigration legislation and social services

    Jolly, Andy; Liamputtong, Pranee (Springer, 2021-05-06)
    Undocumented migrants are at particular risk of social exclusion, both because of the precarity of their immigration status, and because of restrictive welfare policies at a national level, which make it more difficult for non-nationals to access social security and other welfare programs. In the absence of access to other forms of support, health and social care services have a key role in supporting social inclusion for families with an irregular migration status. However, the tension between the focus of immigration legislation on enforcement and control on the one hand; and the emphasis of child welfare legislation on rights and care on the other, can lead to ethical dilemmas for workers in health and social care settings. This chapter discusses how some of these tensions can work out in practice. Using the concept of statutory neglect, it outlines the different forms of social exclusion faced by irregular migrant families, and concludes with a discussion of the implications for the role of health and social care services, with suggestions for how to promote social inclusion for migrant children and families.

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