A functional perspective on the social value of a restructured Forensic Social Work Unit in SAPS, Gauteng
Perrang, Tanya Natasha
MetadataShow full item record
The researcher started practising forensic social work in SAPS in July 2014, when she was transferred from EHW to FSW for in-service training based on the Master’s Degree Programme. The researcher does not have the personal insight of the process of pre-restructuring and post-restructuring; hence the interest and significance of the study. Restructuring and organizational change seems to impact the social value creation process and overall effectiveness of organizations. This study is of importance as much has been written about organizational effectiveness in general and multiple reports could be traced addressing various aspects of FCS restructuring in general. However, the integration of a social service-oriented forensic service component with a traditional frontline-crime environment has not yet been explored. This study contributes to an understanding of the complex interchange of socio-behavioural factors that directly or indirectly impact organizational functionality with regard to a restructuring process. The aim of this study was to evaluate the social value effectiveness of FSW/FCS units through a functional understanding of forensic social workers’ perspectives regarding the restructuring process. The researcher focused the study on what the perspectives of forensic social workers, in FCS units, are with regard to organizational goal orientation, system resources and social value. The qualitative approach was best suited for this study as the researcher wished to explore and understand the participants’ practical perceptions and experiences. The richness of the description gained from a descriptive explorative study was obtained by the fieldworker by means of semi-structured one-on-one interviewing. The research was conducted with forensic social workers in SAPS who reside and work in the Gauteng Province. The research resulted in a small but significant contribution to the contextual understanding of FCS unit operations and this may contribute to more effective restructuring actions within the SAPS environment. According to the study there are some positive perceptions regarding restructuring. Training after restructuring was viewed as positive by the participants, because it equipped them with the necessary skills and knowledge to execute their duties. The forensic social workers viewed teamwork following restructuring to be valuable due to the fact that it enabled them to obtain referrals easier, and that they are able to assist the investigating officers more readily. The change in services to the victims of crimes has improved, and the forensic social workers viewed this as a positive outcome from the restructuring process. Some problem areas were also identified by the participants of the study. It was evident from this study that the foremost negative outcome was that, after restructuring; resources such as vehicles were not readily available to perform organizational functions. The forensic social workers identified their experience as challenging since they had to adjust and apply greater flexibility within the newly restructured FCS with regard to demands placed on them. The participants experienced the adoption of new roles as demanding and that the restructuring highlighted the significance and importance of their perceived dual roles. The study points out that the forensic social workers are of opinion that professionally, they are moving away from the core of forensic social work; thus blurring their identity as social workers. It can be recommended that all role-players become aware of the effects of a restructuring process on an individual member or on a unit, thereby not allowing restructuring to be detrimental to the organization due to members’ low morale.
- Humanities