Information-Sharing and Confidentiality in Social Policy: Regulating Multi-Agency Working

Christine Bellamy, Perri 6, Charles Raab, Adam Warren, Catherine Heeney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

In recent years, there has been growing concern in the UK that local services aimed at risky or vulnerable people are ineffective, because of agencies’ persistent failure to share information about their clients. Despite considerable national policy effort to encourage better information-sharing, previous research indicates that there are many cases where information is still not shared when it should be, or where it is shared when it should not be, with potentially devastating results. This article uses data from the largest empirical study of local information-sharing yet undertaken to examine four policy sectors where multi-agency working has come to the fore. It shows that variations in their information-sharing and confidentiality practices can be explained by neo-Durkheimian institutional theory and uses insights from this theory to argue that current policy tools, which emphasize formal regulation, are unlikely to lead to consistent and acceptable outcomes, not least because of unresolved conflicts in values and aims.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)737-759
JournalPublic Administration
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2008


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