Working parenthood in a social services context: a UK case

Julia Brannen

in Work, families and organisations in transition

Published by Policy Press

Published in print July 2009 | ISBN: 9781847422200
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447304326 | DOI:
Working parenthood in a social services context: a UK case

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This chapter is about the experiences of working parents with young children in the UK as they are located in and experience one particular kind of workplace — a social services department situated in a metropolitan area. The core of this chapter is on how organisations are changing, its particular characteristics in relation to its local environment, its employment conditions and workplace policies, the practices and perspectives of its managers, and the ways in these impact on the lives and experiences of working parents. The chapter also has a methodological slant, describing and discussing how context is made manifest through the research methodology. In particular, the chapter examines the use of the focus group method by which the accounts of working parents were elicited in the workplace studied and how the dynamics of the focus groups speak about people's experiences as both employees and parents. The first part of the chapter discusses the organisational context, including change and trends in the public sector more generally, and the workplace policies for parents, drawing on the literature and available data and documentation about the local authority and social services in question at that time. The second section presents an analysis of interviews carried out with managers at all the many levels of the social services department concerning their views about how the organisation accommodated employees's family responsibilities when they had young children while also responding to the need to manage public resources efficiently. The last section of the chapter explores the main themes generated in the focus group discussions with working parents in social services who discussed issues related to managing their family responsibilities.

Keywords: working parents; UK; workplace; social services department; employment conditions; workplace policies; organisational context; family responsibilities; manage public resources

Chapter.  7661 words. 

Subjects: Marriage and the Family

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