Terence O'Sullivan reports on an observational case study of an adoption panel and focuses on some of its inputs, namely social work reports, social worker attendance and applicant attendance. The research found that although the outputs of the panel meetings were well defined, including the recommendations to the agency decision-maker, the inputs lacked a clear sense of purpose. It was hypothesised that this related to a lack of clarity as to the prime purpose of the panel, in particular whether it was a decision-making group that made recommendations to the agency decision-maker or a decision-validation group, confirming recommendations made by agency social workers. The article discusses ways in which the purpose and inputs of the panel meetings could be aligned with one another and how this could lead to the panel becoming a forum for more open dialogue between panel attendees and panel members
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