Using the structure of social networks to map inter-agency relationships in public health services
This article investigates network governance in the context of health and wellbeing services in England, focusing on relationships between managers in a range of services. There are three aims, namely to investigate, (i) the configurations of networks, (ii) the stability of network relationships over time and, (iii) the balance between formal and informal ties that underpin inter-agency relationships. Latent position cluster network models were used to characterise relationships. Managers were asked two questions, both designed to characterise informal relationships. The resulting networks differed substantially from one another in membership. Managers described networks of relationships that spanned organisational boundaries, and that changed substantially over time. The findings suggest that inter-agency co-ordination depends more on informal than on formal relationships.
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