UNESCO CFRC Lunchtime Webinar Series: Complexity Theory for better Child Protection & Welfare and Public Services

Date Released: 21 February 2023

UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre  

In Association with the  

Institute for Lifecourse and Society  

University of Galway   

Lunchtime Webinar Series    

Title: Complexity Theory for better Child Protection & Welfare and Public Services 

Complexity is a feature of modern public service provision. Rather than fear and seek to simplify it, we need to harness complexity. This webinar series explores complexity theory and related aspects for public service and child protection and welfare work. We aim to increase insights into how complexity theory frameworks and approaches can help practitioners, managers, leaders and academics to better understand and engage with complexity at practice, service and system levels.   

Webinar 1: Complexity Theory and Child Protection and Welfare.       

In this Webinar, we focus on understanding the systemic and dynamic characteristics of complexity and how adopting a complexity focus can contribute to risk management, judgements and decision-making in complex practice, services and systems.    

Date and Time: Wednesday 19th April, 2023, 1:00-2:00pm (GMT)  


Professor Rick Hood, Kingston University, London.  Professor Hood has explored the nature of change in complex cases, the challenges associated with making judgements and decisions, and, managing risks and relationships in social work practice, through a complexity lens.    


Professor Caroline McGregor, Professor in Social Work, University of Galway      

Mr Cormac Quinlan, Assistant National Director for Practice Reform, Tusla, Child and Family Agency.     

Presentation is available here.

Watch the webinar here

Webinar 2: Complexity Theory and Public Services                                         

In this Webinar, we focus on the main differences required in perspectives, practices and institutions to adopt a complexity informed approach to public sector systems. 

Date and Time: Wednesday 26th April, 2023, 1:00-200pm (GMT)  


Dr Mary Lee Rhodes, Associate Professor of Public Management and Co-Director of the Centre for Social Innovation at Trinity College, Dublin. Dr. Rhodes’ research is focused on complex public service systems and the dynamics of performance, value and impact.  


Dr Fergal Lynch, Senior Lead, Government and Public Policy Engagement, Institute for Lifecourse and Society, University of Galway.   

Presentation is available here.

Watch the webinar here.

Registration and further information for both webinars: