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Management student projects make real contribution to Hampshire Social Services

Published: 
25 February 2004

Hampshire County Council Social Services has praised two University of Southampton School of Management post-graduate students for their work in analysing and recommending improvements to the way things are done within the department.

Marlene Jimenez and Korina Katsaliaki undertook the work at the County Council as part of their MSc Operational Research/Management Sciences course placement.

Peter Knight Quality and Performance Manager for Hampshire County Council Social Services said: "Both students did a remarkable job in quickly understanding our organisational culture, systems and jargon. They approached the projects in a mature and professional way, attending and contributing to significant meetings with our partner agencies."

University of Southampton Industrial Liaison Manager Dr Ian Rowley commented: "Our students bring a fresh pair of eyes and the latest management techniques into their host organisations during the three month placement. Projects can include increasing efficiency, reducing costs, developing strategy, managing demand or improving standards of service."

Marlene's project examined the way social services for children are run within Hampshire. She identified bottlenecks in the reviewing system and recommended improvements including the better use of administrative staff to allow social workers to spend more time with their clients. All Marlene's proposals are being implemented.

Korina's work contributed to a larger project to improve how elderly patients are channelled through health and social care systems, including acute and community hospitals, in the Portsmouth area. A computer model was created to mimic the flows of patients. Inputting data on different demand patterns or varying rates of patient discharge back into the community meant the system could be tested with no risk to patients.

In all, students carried out 45 projects in 2003. A quarter were health-related. Dr Rowley is now seeking companies and organisations to host MSc students for three month projects this summer. The University requests a contribution from the hosts to support students during the placement.

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