CASE Social Exclusion Seminars
Exploring the utility of structural competency in multi-agency responses to exploitation
Rana Khazbak (King's College London), Oana Burcu (University of Nottingham), Alison Gardner (University of Nottingham)
Wednesday 17 May 2023 12:00 - 13:00
Many of our seminars and public events this year will continue as in person or as hybrid (online and in person) events. Please check our website listings and Twitter feed @STICERD_LSE for updates.
Unless otherwise specified, in-person seminars are open to the public.
Those unable to join the seminars in-person are welcome to participate via zoom if the event is hybrid.
About this event
This seminar will discuss the emerging concept of ‘structural competency’ as a framework to understand systemic gaps and suggest more effective multi-agency responses to exploitation affecting marginalised communities. It draws upon a case study of multi-agency work across a unitary English local authority, where we interviewed 25 professionals and front-line staff to explore how safeguarding structures, systems and practices function to identify and respond to cases of exploitation affecting local Roma communities. Structural competency was first introduced by Jonathan Metzl and Helena Hansen (2014) as a new approach to the training of medical practitioners that focuses on the structural factors that drive health inequalities. It aims to give professionals the skills to consider how, for example, social, political, economic, legislative and cultural forces produce structures that shape and are shaped by clinical interactions and to intervene to mitigate the effects of these structures. Structural competency redresses some of the critiques of the widely debated ‘cultural competency’ model but is yet to be applied more widely. As we understand modern slavery to be rooted in structural inequalities and oppression, we argue that ‘structural competency’ could be a useful framework to guide research and practice into the prevention and identification of exploitation.