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Change and continuity in children's services$
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Roy Parker

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9781447322221

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781447322221.001.0001

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The role and function of inquiries*

The role and function of inquiries*

(p.127) Chapter 9 The role and function of inquiries*
Change and continuity in children's services

Roy Parker

Policy Press

Since the 1970s there has been a profusion of inquiries into various aspects of the children’s services. Their purpose and their form have varied. There have been inquiries by departmental committees; by parliamentary select committees; by small QC-led teams; by government inspectors and by locally-instituted committees. There have also been those conducted independently of governments. How can or should they be classified? It is clear that whatever their differences they represent a political response to a particularly disturbing event or to a more general problem that can no longer be ignored, although sometimes they are a device to put such problems in cold storage. In some cases inquiries are asked to do no more than establish the facts or determine responsibility and assign blame. The politics of their inauguration; their terms of reference; their composition and the reception of their findings interact in complex ways, the outcome of which is not always what is expected. However, most reports insist that lessons should be learned from what they conclude; but exactly what should be learned, by whom and to what end is not always clear.

Keywords:   politics, classification, lessons, application

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