Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Communication is key to protecting public safety

31.10.2006
Protecting public safety requires both more information sharing and better confidentiality protection, reconciling the two is a central challenge of joined-up government. New research from the Economic and Social Research Council has highlighted continuing communication problems and has identified the need to develop standards for best practice in order to tackle the problem.

The research reveals that senior civil service managers have attempted, through a series of uncoordinated and fragmented initiatives, to resolve these issues by imposing stronger formal regulation on information-sharing and confidentiality practices. These findings are the first systematic information that senior officials and other stakeholders have had on the impact of their initiatives.

A fundamental tension exists between media and public concerns about child protection, paedophilia and mental health care and the Human Rights Act, data protection legislation and professional codes. However the need to improve the ways and extent to which data sharing occurs has been proven in the failure of government agencies to talk to each effectively before both the death of Victoria Climbié and the Soham murders. These failures have highlighted the clear need for improvement in communicating information.

Professor Bellamy's research team have developed an innovative new theory to improve the co-operation between a wide range of professionals with different specialised training, working in a diverse range of organisations and using separate IT systems. By adopting a theoretical approach, the research found that informal factors such as mutual confidence tended to be influential and that in contrast formal regulation was less effective.

The researchers found, for example, that there are marked differences in professionals' willingness to share information: in mental health care, confidentiality is tightly protected within teams even if the teams comprise several professions. Within many fields of law enforcement, sharing of some kinds of information is less constrained by confidentiality concerns, but is often sustained more by individual officers bargaining for information than by rule-following.

The team conducted in-depth interviews with over 200 people working in 12 multi-agency partnerships. The research concentrated on the hard choices that staff are regularly forced to make between sharing unnecessary and possibly false information, and the risk that information will not be shared when it is essential to prevent death, injury or other harm.

Uncertain, inconsistent and hard to understand local information-sharing practices continue according to the research and more work is needed to establish patterns of regulation that recognise the potential richness of human interaction amongst professional staff in developing best practice.

Members of the public will continue to face real threats of unfair and unpredictable behaviour from local services and front-line workers who are operating in an environment without secure working structures that they can defend if things go wrong.

For further information, contact:
Professor Chris Bellamy on 0797 1022 240 or email: chris.bellamy@ntu.ac.uk Or Alexandra Saxon/Annika Howard at ESRC, on 01793 413032/413119

Email: alexandra.saxon@esrc.ac.uk / annika.howard@esrc.ac.uk

Annika Howard | alfa
Further information:
http://www.esrc.ac.uk
http://www.esrcsocietytoday.ac.uk/

More articles from Social Sciences:

nachricht Fixating on faces
26.01.2017 | California Institute of Technology

nachricht Internet use in class tied to lower test scores
16.12.2016 | Michigan State University

All articles from Social Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Biocompatible 3-D tracking system has potential to improve robot-assisted surgery

17.02.2017 | Medical Engineering

Real-time MRI analysis powered by supercomputers

17.02.2017 | Medical Engineering

Antibiotic effective against drug-resistant bacteria in pediatric skin infections

17.02.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>