Comparative case study investigating illegal gatekeeping practices within Children and Adult's Social care multi-agency spaces.

Lead Research Organisation: University of Southampton
Department Name: School of Social Sciences


In the ten years since the start of the "Austerity Era", the UK public sector landscape has changed dramatically with the removal or reduction of many public services. Alongside this, welfare reforms and wider issues such as housing shortages have led to increased demand for some services. In places this has left visible gaps in service provision, as different agencies have tightened their thresholds. Frontline workers are tasked with navigating this changing landscape and making sense of conflicting demands from the public, the government and institutional managers. Recent research has found these conditions in housing services have contributed to professionals using unlawful gatekeeping strategies to discourage applicants from registering as homeless. Similar pressures and conditions exist across the public sector, but the prevalence and impact of unlawful gatekeeping is not known. This proposal puts forward the case for original qualitative research which will explore the prevalence and impact of illegal gatekeeping within multi-agency meetings co-ordinated by children's an adults' social care. Examining multi-agency meetings will provide a valuable insight into the coming together of professionals from statutory and non-statutory services during these challenging times for the public sector. It will help to establish the extent to which unlawful gatekeeping plays a factor in the institutional culture of social care and it's supporting agencies. Findings of this research will have significance for many actors and stakeholders engaged in public service design and delivery and will impact across multiple academic and professional disciplines and will tie into existing debates embedded within the social sciences on austerity, social inequality, governance, and welfare.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
ES/P000673/1 30/09/2017 29/09/2027
2120377 Studentship ES/P000673/1 30/09/2018 18/02/2022 Rebecca Christine Gardner