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  • Print publication year: 1988
  • Online publication date: July 2010

8 - Barriers and opportunities


The findings presented in the last chapter indicate a high failure rate in coordinating social policy. This means that, for example, whatever else Riverton was good at it was not coordination for elderly people and children under five. Yet this is within a locality where the selection criteria should have allowed advantage of organisational coterminosity. Compare this with Greenshire where, on complexity alone, we might have predicted difficulty in organising interaction and consequently little output. However, despite measured interaction of a commensurately low level, some considerable output was recorded and, from our interview materials, a positive attitude towards joint planning monitored.

These puzzles are what we set out to comprehend in this and the two succeeding chapters. Having mentioned failure, however, it is only failure of degree and as depicted from one point of view: from around the ‘optimistic’ perspective. This proposes a preponderance of joint plans and policies emerging from within the three arenas. Some of these products were present, yet the overall result for output is of isolated, albeit numerous, projects and alterations to practice. The comprehensive and coherent qualities associated with a strategic overview were difficult to locate. In order to understand this relative failure we need to look back to some of the questions which guided the initial research.