A Common Ground: Challenging the Boundaries Hindering Inter-agency Cooperation

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This paper does not present the policy process of inter-agency cooperation in terms of systematic and tidy ideal-types, but explores the characteristic cultural complexities and ‘messiness’ of the process (Wright et al, 1995:27) and in doing so, it presents the reality of the process. It begins by setting the scene in relation to inter-agency cooperation by examining it from a historical and developmental perspective, and with the incorporation of policy and cultural implications. According to Rhodes and Flemming: The rationale behind networks [inter agency initiatives] is about creating partnerships. For example, care of the mentally ill or the protection of battered wives needs cooperation between several agencies, including police. If each is to do their job properly, they need to share such resources as staff, information, money, infrastructure and expertise (Rhodes and Flemming, 2004:8). Primary and secondary research led to the development of a theoretical framework which analysis the complexities of inter agency cooperation and identifies communication, culture and power as the key factors which lead to the gaps in the ideal and reality of the effectiveness of inter-agency and intra-agency cooperation.


Keywords: Inter-agency Cooperation, Power, Culture, Communication, Ideal and Reality
Stream: Sociology, Geography
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: Common Ground, A


Dr. Katharine Rust-Ryan

Researcher, School of Health and Social Care, University of Lincoln
Hull, UK

Prior to working at the University of Lincoln, Kate studied at the University of Durham. She received her first degree in Human Sciences, and obtained her Masters in Social Anthropology. Kate joined the University of Lincoln in 1997, when she was initially employed as a temporary researcher to evaluate the work of a local Domestic Violence Forum. Later, Kate returned and undertook her PhD on Inter-agency Cooperation and Domestic violence, and worked as a part-time lecturer at the university. During the latter part of her study, Kate worked as a supply teacher for secondary schools across Lincolnshire and as a part-time lecturer at Hull University. She returned to the university in 2005, working as a researcher for the local and regional Sure Start evaluation team in Lincoln. Kate is now working as a researcher for the School of Health and Social Care.

Dr. Alan Rust-Ryan

Senior Researcher, Fordham Research
London, UK

Alan completed his first degree in sociology at Essex University in 1991 followed by a postgraduate degree in computing in 1992. He worked for the North Hull Housing Action Trust between 1993 and 1996 whilst studying part-time for a postgraduate degree in housing. From 1996 to 2006 Alan worked as a lecturer and researcher at the University of Lincoln. He has completed a PhD on Housing Action Trusts and Community Development and has taken a lead role in a number of research projects. Alan is now a Senior Researcher with a well established London-based research company, Fordham Research. His academic interests include housing and urban policy, community development and social research methods.

Ref: I08P0599