• A case study on the potential to improve service delivery by introducing a 'virtual' contact centre

      Trevor, Jennifer (University of Liverpool (University College Chester), 2004-10)
      The piloting of a 'Virtual' Contact Centre (VCC) was identified at Flintshire County Council as a priority for an Access To Services Review. This would offer the customer an alternative method of contacting the Council, to request service and information. What did not necessarily follow was that the actual service received would be to the improved satisfaction of the customer. The research topic was therefore to determine whether improved access to services by means of a Virtual' Contact Centre actually improved service delivery. The research was undertaken using a 'pilot' Case Study of an implementation in Flintshire County Council between 2002 and 2004. Both quantitative and qualitative data were collated through consultation and interview, and investigated and analysed in tandem with a literature review. The main finding of the study was that the 'pilot' Case Study had not produced significant evidence to wholly support the claim. However, the analysis of the data had indicated that the VCC provided a welcome alternative means of contacting the Council. It was clear from the study that the VCC facility was being used, though it would appear that some access channels had been more popular than others. Thus, although the hypothesis was not fully proven, there was clear evidence of the potential for improvement in customer satisfaction being realised through a VCC. Recommendations are proposed to address the issues.
    • The country in the writings of Elizabeth Gaskell

      Billington, Josie; Wynne, Deborah; Best, Aline M. (University of Liverpool (University College Chester), 2004-09)
      The country is an element within all the writings of Elizabeth Gaskell, in her letters, short stories and novels, even the 'condition-of-England' novels set within the city, and The Life of Charlotte Bronte. Yet, it is an aspect of her writing which has suffered from relative critical neglect. It is, therefore, an interesting and appropriate choice of subject for a dissertation for the M.A. in Literary Studies: 'The Country and the City'. The Introduction, after indicating the significance of Gaskell's letters in relation to the country, gives reasons for the selection of the short stories as the basis of the study of Gaskell's depiction of the country, together with the novel, Sylvia's Lovers, which is closest in stance and technique to the portrayal of country life in the short stories and also offers an interesting contrast between life in the country and the town. Reference is also made to other texts wherever appropriate. The study is essentially text-based, as a means of examining in depth Gaskell's subtlety as a writer. The chapter, 'The Country in the Letters', explores the extent to which Gaskell's letters reveal her lifelong love of the countryside and empathy with country people, as well as indicating early literary influences and evidencing many of the techniques found in her fictional writing. The next chapter, 'The Country in the Short Stories', after discussing the influence of Wordsworth, considers the element of social history within Gaskell's fictionalisation, before turning to the significance of the countryside as setting, the inherent characteristics of country people and realist techniques. The following chapter, 'The Country and the Town in Sylvia's Lovers' after treating the background to the work and certain key elements, analyses Gaskell's use of the country setting, her depiction of the principal country characters and her realist techniques, before considering the contrast between country and town, particularly in relation to Sylvia Robson's life after her marriage. The final chapter, 'The Country in the Writings of Elizabeth Gaskell: an Overview', summarises the significance of the portrayal of the country in the works studied in detail, while touching upon the difference in perspective in North and South and Wives and Daughters. The chapter concludes that: 'through the breadth of her picture, the acuity of her observation and her engagement, Gaskell's depiction of the countryside and country people is unique in nineteenth century English literature'.
    • Evaluation of a lift control algorithm for the emergency evacuation of a tall building

      Southall, Garfield; Ennion, Keith (University of Liverpool (University College Chester), 2003)
      This dissertation considers the hypothesis that a suitably designed lift system can be used for the automatic evacuation of tall buildings. It will identify the key features that should be provided to ensure that lifts are controlled efficiently during this task and so ensure that the evacuation time is reduced to a practical minimum. An algorithm is described which has been designed in line with these principles and its performance is evaluated by simulation. The performance is then assessed against a standard control algorithm and also against a theoretical best possible solution. The initial results indicate that a dedicated evacuation algorithm can provide significant benefits above a more generalised control strategy for this particular traffic situation and that it is less susceptible to variations in passenger arrival patterns.
    • An exploration of psychosocial adjustment to cardiopulmonary transplantation

      Regan, Julie-Anne; Cheater, Hilary J. (University of Liverpool (University College Chester), 2005-11)
      The aims of this assessment of needs research were: to explore psychosocial adjustment to cardiopulmonary transplantation among a sample of recipients; to gain an insight into the importance of psychosocial support for recipients; and to reveal any differences within demographic data, with regards to psychosocial adjustment. The research strategy employed was quantitative, and a cross-sectional study was undertaken, using the Psychosocial Adjustment to Illness Scale (Derogatis, 1983). A purposeful sample of 69 recipients were invited to participate in the research, and data was analysed using a variety of statistical tests within the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) Version 12. A total response rate of 47.8% (n=33) was achieved, with results indicating that 69.7% of recipients who participated in this research reflected 'maladjustment' or 'maladjustment within the clinical range' to cardiopulmonary transplantation. The clinical and statistical significance of results identified groups of patients at higher risk for maladjustment to cardiopulmonary transplantation, namely, those who were unemployed, those who lived further away from the transplant unit, and those who were between one and three years post-transplant. These findings may be useful to the cardiopulmonary transplant unit where the research took place, and to other units and health care institutions throughout the United Kingdom. The results have the potential to influence policy decisions regarding health promotion interventions which may reduce the risk of maladjustment to cardiopulmonary transplantation. Furthermore, expansion of multi-disciplinary team services offered to cardiopulmonary transplant recipients may be considered. The findings may also have resonance with other chronic conditions with regards to the psychosocial support and intervention necessary to facilitate appropriate adjustment to illness and optimum patient recovery.
    • Exploring the view of financial professionals on ethical and corporate governance: A qualitative study within the accounting department of a financial shared services centre

      Page, Steve; Barbon, Ana J. D. (University of Liverpool (University College Chester), 2005-09)
      This report aims to provide an accurate an up-to date vision of business ethics and corporate governance performance in the context of business organisations. Furthermore the aim of the report goes beyond the theoretical level, trying to unveil the practical side of ethics and corporate governance practices within a specific live organisation. Accordingly this piece of research explores the perceptions of financial professionals on ethical and corporate governance performance within the Accounting Department of Company A. Two instruments are used to this purpose: interviews and questionnaire. The analysis of the data collected will disclose some strengths in the views of the staff about the ethical performance of company A such as high commitment of both employees and company to the duty of business ethics and to report financial information with integrity. Alternatively weak areas in need of improvement would be an employees' low level of familiarity and comfort with whistleblowing tools available within Company A, the little applicability of company code of ethics in practice and the lack of an appropriate performance measurement system to assess ethical and corporate governance performance and to communicate it to stakeholders. Ultimately a list of recommendations is included in chapter 6, based on the conclusions raised in the report. It includes among others: the use of value-based codes, a formal introduction of the code to employees, additional formal ethics training, periodic updates to employees on whistleblowing policies and procedures, the use of external channels to report misconduct or the development of a combined performance measurement system that integrates not only financial and business indicators but measures to assess ethical and corporate governance performance.
    • Fit for public consumption: An exploratory study of the reporting of nutrition research in UK tabloids and public attitudes towards it

      Hogard, Elaine; Basu, Andrea J. (University of Liverpool (University College Chester)North East Wales NHS Trust, 2005-11)
      Newspapers constitute a popular form of mass media within the UK; presenting a valuable opportunity for disseminating key nutrition and health messages. This qualitative, exploratory study examined tabloid articles reporting on nutrition research, and public attitudes towards them. All popular tabloids were included and articles were sampled over a full calendar month. A tool was designed to test for accuracy with respect to the original research, balance, and presence of appropriate contextualised information. Thirty-nine features were systematically assessed using the tool. Two focus groups were conducted to explore public attitudes towards specific tabloid articles. Questions were centred on the cognitive, affective and behavioural elements of attitude formation. The groups were audio recorded, transcribed, and emerging themes were established. Findings indicated that tabloid articles were essentially inaccurate, biased, and not effectively contextualised. Attitudes expressed within the focus groups were largely negative and suggested that tabloid articles could confuse members of the public. Articles were more likely to be disregarded than acted upon, however there was some value attached to newspapers providing nutrition information, inferring that opportunities to effectively use this media are not completely lost.
    • A heuristic study of the impact on the therapeutic relationship of counsellors who have chosen to experience a significant amount of contemplative silence in their lives

      Mintz, Rita; Humphreys, Marjorie R. (University of Liverpool (University College Chester), 2006-10)
      A heuristic investigation was undertaken in which four counsellors who live with a significant amount of chosen contemplative silence in their lives were interviewed in order to explore the impact, if any, that their way of life had on the therapeutic relationship. The in depth, open ended interviews took the form of the narrative enquiry. As the ‘bricoleur’ my analysis was based on an emergent design utilizing heuristic methodology. The literature search which revealed a paucity of previous material demonstrates that silence in the lives of counsellors enhances their way of being with clients, making them more self aware and able to relate at a deeper level. The interviews discovered that whilst there were a number of benefits to the counsellor, there were also some difficulties to address. The benefits were an increased self-awareness, relational depth, mindfulness and acceptance. The difficulties raised were that the subject of contemplation or meditation is a difficult area to verbalize, there is a reticence to be transparent about it, and that there are occasions when the fact that the counsellor has access to something that is not understood by the client this may impair the counselling relationship. Findings are presented in the form of individual depictions of each of the four co-researchers, a composite depiction and a creative synthesis. Further research would be beneficial to explore this phenomenon in more depth.
    • Investigating the utility of a self-assessment tool in the over 75s

      Hogard, Elaine; Birnie, Sandra (University of Liverpool (University College Chester), 2005-11)
      This study investigates the utility of a postal self assessment questionnaire as a screening tool for targeting those individuals over the age of seventy five years, in primary care, who require a full assessment of their health/social care needs. It explores further, whether this is an efficient method for identifying such individuals, and its acceptability to those individuals themselves, as a method of assessment. Data was collected from a cohort of patients who turned seventy five, eighty five and ninety five years of age during the twelve months of the project, in two city General Practices. Practice A had no process in place for reviewing their elderly population, while Practice B saw all their over seventy fives on an annual basis. Participants were invited to complete a previously validated self assessment questionnaire which was sent to them in the post, in order to identify those who were in need of further assessment and/or support. The same cohort was followed up with a face to face health assessment with the Practice Nurse, to confirm or refute the outcome of the self assessment questionnaire. The results were found to be highly correlated. A further qualitative study, comprising semi-structured interviews with a small sample from the original cohort, explored patients' views about the process. From the patients' point of view, the process was found to be highly acceptable within both practices. For Practice A, this method has provided them with a way forward for reviewing their older patients without too much extra effort; and for Practice B, the results allow some streamlining of services to take place. Further work with a larger population is recommended to confirm the results from this small scale study.
    • Knowing and complying: Patient awareness of aspirin use for secondary prevention of stroke and transient ischaemic attack

      Hogard, Elaine; Little, Victoria (University of Liverpool (University College Chester)Arrow Park Hospital, 2005-11)
      The aim of this study was to gain understanding into compliance behaviour with aspirin as prescribed for secondary prevention of stroke. The study used a convenience sample of 20 patients who had been admitted to a NHS Trust following a subsequent stroke or transient ischaemic attack. Semi-structured interviews were used to explore the use of aspirin at the time of admission. Patient perception of personal risk and risk factors for stroke were explored. Where appropriate, responses were checked against health care records for comparison. The findings suggested that the majority of patients were compliant with aspirin, however deficiencies in current practice were identified. Patients lacked awareness of their risk factors and their risk of having a further stroke. They were also unaware why they were taking aspirin. Strategies that assisted compliance behaviour and reasons for non-compliance were identified.
    • A qualitative study of the impact on the counsellor of engagement in long term empathic relationships with survivors of childhood sexual abuse

      Le'Surf, Anne; Watkin, Howard E. (University of Liverpool (University College Chester), 2004-10)
      This dissertation is a qualitative study of the impact on the counsellor of engagement in long term relationship with survivors of childhood sexual abuse. Five counsellors, experienced in working with adult survivors, were interviewed. Discussion focused on questioning their training and preparation for working with the particular needs of adult clients seriously damaged by traumatic child abuse; the counsellor's experiencing of long term empathic engagement; the quality and availability of supervision and other means of supporting the counsellor; the impact on counsellors exceeding their emotional and physical limitations; and changes caused by the nature of this work in the counsellor's perceptions of the world, their feelings, and the impact on their domestic, social and spiritual life. The study examines the particular nature of childhood abuse and the circumstances that arise working with survivors which may put the counsellor at risk. The results of the study indicate that careful preparation and appropriate training are required for counsellors who wish to be involved in this work, and that constant awareness of the potential dangers combined with self-care and experienced support will help the counsellor to avoid or lessen the risks involved.