Hall, Christopher and Slembrouck, Stef (2009) Professional categorization, risk management and inter-agency communication in public inquiries into disastrous outcomes. British Journal of Social Work, 39 (2). pp. 280-298. ISSN 1469-263X

This paper suggests a conceptual shift in the way we approach information sharing
by foregrounding the role of categorization. We argue that the establishment of
professional categories, while being central to institutional intervention, is contingent
on the complexities of everyday inter-professional encounters. It is important
therefore to analyse situations in professionals report on the negotiation of categories
as well as how professionals account for a failure to align sender and receiver
frames. The data analysed in this paper consists two excerpts each from a public
inquiry in the UK (the Victoria Climbié Inquiry) and one in Belgium (the Parliamentary
Commission Dutroux). In conclusion, we address a number of themes in contemporary
debates about improving interagency and within-agency communication. In
particular, we advocate the promotion of language awareness rooted in interactional
analysis and the need to understand the on-the-ground dynamics of evolving
everyday practice as important prerequisites for bringing about and responding to

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