Dickinson, Helen E (2010)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.
The need for health and social care agencies and their professionals to work in partnership is a central component of contemporary English health and social care policy. Partnership is predicated on the notion that this way of working improves services and outcomes for service users. However, as there is little evidence that partnerships improve service user outcomes, some commentators suggest that this indicates either a failure of the policy or a deficit in terms of implementation. This thesis investigates the link between health and social care partnerships and service user outcomes. Rather than adopting the types of rationalist and instrumental approach which the majority of studies in this field have done, the thesis develops a new conceptual framework for partnership which is interpretive and performative. This framework is developed and tested in four exploratory case study sites and concludes that partnership is not necessarily simply an instrument of improvement in a traditional sense. The power of partnership lies in its cultural and symbolic value. This takes partnership beyond traditional discussions of partnership and governance; rather than representing a particular mode of governance, instead arguing that partnership is an active tool of governance.
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