About this project

The plotting of this network of connections has been undertaken in the personal time of a group of academics working in the UK:

The motivation for developing this network map came from our collective recognition that there are a lot of connections between government, private and charity organisations, with many of the same individuals moving between these roles that are not always fully recognised or understood. We took as our starting point this initial network ethnography completed by Joe Hanley that can be viewed here.

Inclusion Criteria

People (and the relevant organisation) are included if they met any of the following criteria:

  1. They work for or have worked for an organization
  2. They are/were listed as a supporter, partner or funder of an organisation
  3. They are/were part of a whole organisation/multi-project advisory board for an organisation (this excludes single project advisory)
  4. They have/had a formal official role with an organisation (including board member/director/trustee)
  5. They are/were a public ambassador or fellow for an organisation
  6. Individuals with a significant role in the Children’s Social Care Review and Initial Teacher Training Market Review were also included to demonstrate the interconnectivity of projects of this nature
  7. They are one of the academics listed above who are involved in the development of this map.

The following exclusion criterion was also applied:

  1. The person only has one notable connection.

Inclusion criteria 1-5 should be self-explanatory. We added inclusion criterion 6 as these two Reviews are current, have a high public profile, may have a significant impact on children’s services and policy, and because they help demonstrate the interconnectivity of projects of this nature. We included ourselves (inclusion criterion 7) in order to provide some transparency regarding our own noted connections, and this provides a point of comparison with others in the network diagram if wanted. We applied exclusion criterion 1 in order to simplify the map.

In addition, only connections that could be verified by publicly available online sources were included, and each of these sources has been included in the map (sources that were possible to archive have been archived for posterity). Familial connections were not included, although there are a number of these between individuals in the map. The focus was primarily on England, but the global nature of modern networks means that at times it crosses borders. The focus was also on Children’s Services and links to central government, and therefore to simplify the map only two government departments have been included, the Department for Education and the Cabinet Office. However, it is important to highlight that many in the map also have links to other government departments.

Searching for connections took place entirely over the internet, and the map was expanded until it reached approximately 1000 connections, with anyone who met the criteria that was identified included. Searching for connections on the internet carries with it certain biases. There are likely to be others who exercise influence less openly – but it is also fitting in that it captures known and public connections that have not previously been comprehensively mapped in this way. The spreadsheet containing all the information and connections can also be viewed here.

Uses of the Map

We see a number of possible uses for this map, including:

We recognise that some may suggest that such networks are merely the way policy development and services ‘work’, and that may be the case. If that is the case, then there should be similarly no issue with documenting these networks clearly and transparently so that people may draw their own conclusions about their significance (or otherwise). We believe that seeking to better understand these networks, and their influence, is a potentially important contribution to our understanding policy making and influence in a post-industrial liberal democratic state.

Corrections and Connections

It is important to note that the large number of connections highlighted here mean that there are likely some errors in the map and the document. If anyone spots an error, they are encouraged to fill out the following form to let us know: corrections form. This spreadsheet and map is intended to serve as a snapshot of several months, and therefore it is also possible that some of the connections are out of date or need updating.

We also encourage anyone to suggest new connections, and we will endeavour to create additional snapshots in the future (our personal time and resources notwithstanding). Please ensure that any suggested additions meet the criteria outlined above, and can be verified by online sources. Additions can be suggested using the following form: additions form.