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 Sibling differences: Later-borns choose less prestigious programs at university
14.11.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für demografische Forschung

nachricht Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ
09.11.2017 | Vanderbilt 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: Artificial agent designs quantum experiments

On the way to an intelligent laboratory, physicists from Innsbruck and Vienna present an artificial agent that autonomously designs quantum experiments. In initial experiments, the system has independently (re)discovered experimental techniques that are nowadays standard in modern quantum optical laboratories. This shows how machines could play a more creative role in research in the future.

We carry smartphones in our pockets, the streets are dotted with semi-autonomous cars, but in the research laboratory experiments are still being designed by...

Im Focus: Scientists decipher key principle behind reaction of metalloenzymes

So-called pre-distorted states accelerate photochemical reactions too

What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...

Im Focus: The first precise measurement of a single molecule's effective charge

For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.

Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...

Im Focus: Paradigm shift in Paris: Encouraging an holistic view of laser machining

At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.

No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...

Im Focus: Room-temperature multiferroic thin films and their properties

Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and Tohoku University have developed high-quality GFO epitaxial films and systematically investigated their ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties. They also demonstrated the room-temperature magnetocapacitance effects of these GFO thin films.

Multiferroic materials show magnetically driven ferroelectricity. They are attracting increasing attention because of their fascinating properties such as...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

10th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Münster, 10-11 April 2018

08.01.2018 | Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Thanks for the memory: NIST takes a deep look at memristors

22.01.2018 | Materials Sciences

Radioactivity from oil and gas wastewater persists in Pennsylvania stream sediments

22.01.2018 | Earth Sciences

Saarland University bioinformaticians compute gene sequences inherited from each parent

22.01.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks Wissenschaft & Forschung
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>