The Impact of Information Technology Evolution on the Forms of Knowledge in Public Sector Social Work: Examples from Canada and the UK

Vogl, Thomas
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In recent years, governments have been enthusiastic about the potential of digital changes to transform the way the public sector operates. While such changes were originally found to deprioritize the forms of knowledge needed by UK child protection workers, instead favouring administrative forms of knowledge, it was not known whether this impact was similar in other liberal democracies, nor whether this simply represented a phase in the evolution of digital government. This study explored this question through desk research and by interviewing and observing social workers as they interacted with a new information system. The study’s findings suggest that while the experiences of social workers in a Canadian province replicate the previous UK experience, current digital changes in the UK that are built on the earlier foundation may enhance the knowledge of child protection workers. These findings suggest that forms of knowledge may evolve with technological change.
Digital Government: Social and Service Innovation, digital government, information technology, public administration, social work, street-level bureaucracy
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