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Single shared assessment : the limits to 'quick fix' implementation

Eccles, Andrew (2008) Single shared assessment : the limits to 'quick fix' implementation. Journal of Integrated Care, 16 (1). pp. 22-30. ISSN 1476-9018

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Abstract

Joint working between health and social services has been a key focus of policy in recent years, albeit - underneath the protocols and partnership agreements - integrated processes have developed unevenly. A single shared assessment tool has been one of the concrete expressions of policy on the ground. This paper explores the implementation of the shared assessment process in Scotland. It discusses the broader policy agenda, before exploring the introduction of the shared assessment tool in a large urban authority. Based primarily on interviews with front-line staff in health and social work and managers charged with delivering shared assessment, the paper suggests a lack of engagement on issues such as working cultures and equity of workloads, while some of the main reasons behind the implementation of shared assessment, such as overcoming duplication, have not generally materialised for staff. Overall, single shared assessment has been driven by process rather than by engagement with wider ideas about joint working, which has led to uneven and at times unwilling implementation.