Empowering involvement: The role of front line social care workers in community planning in Scotland – a Capabilities Approach

Johnston, Maxine Elizabeth (2023) Empowering involvement: The role of front line social care workers in community planning in Scotland – a Capabilities Approach. Ed.D thesis, University of Glasgow.

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This study seeks to contribute to the body of work on involvement which leads to empowerment (hereafter empowering involvement), in community planning with front line social care workers in Scotland through the lens of Nussbaum’s Capabilities Approach (hereafter CAN) and the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015.

The timeliness of this study is considered in the context of the Coronavirus pandemic, the Independent Review of Adult Social Care in Scotland, increasing demand for health and social care, sector recruitment and retention issues (Scottish Government 2019; 2021) and the introduction of Public Health Scotland, a public body focused on prevention and supporting a whole system approach to tackling inequalities (Public Health Reform, 2019).

I have sought to keep people and learning from lived experience at the heart of this study by drawing on the CAN as the philosophical lens through which to explore my research question and through my chosen methodology. This interpretivist study combines participatory and conceptual elements and includes triangulation of data from participant appreciative inquiry sessions involving a front line social care worker, my own autobiographical reflections of working in front line social care, and a review of policy and available literature including research led by people with lived experience of social care. Creative involvement approaches and participant views of their role and engagement in community planning and involvement were explored.

From this small-scale, in-depth research study I offer some tentative conclusions which include the need to consider involvement as both a (potentially fertile) capability and functioning in contrast to a neoliberal/utilitarian inspired instrumental view of involvement which may have a corrosive effect on capabilities and functioning and fail to recognise the transformational potential of involvement and the full potential of people including front line social care workers. This, I argue has implications for planning, practice, evaluation, quality, research, policy and innovation. Findings are presented graphically as an adaptive framework, constellation and galaxy for empowering involvement, shedding new light on the front line social care worker’s role in empowering involvement in community planning. The framework, constellation and galaxy offers potential as a way of promoting and supporting a whole person, life-wide approach to planning for involvement with people at the heart, and live mapping and support for planning and connections with all contributing to improving together for empowering involvement in community planning.

Item Type: Thesis (Ed.D)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > School of Education
Supervisor's Name: Gormally, Dr. Sinead and Hedge, Professor Nicki
Date of Award: 2023
Depositing User: Theses Team
Unique ID: glathesis:2023-83793
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 01 Sep 2023 08:23
Last Modified: 01 Sep 2023 08:26
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.83793
URI: https://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/83793

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