Children Support Agency Case Study

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Children Support Agency Case Study


The use and potential benefit to system developers is examined by use of the Semiotic Framework method in the case study information supplied regarding the Children Support Agency (CSA).

Analysis of Semiotic Framework

The framework as described by Kangassalo et al (1995) (1) refers to the work of Stamper (1987) (2) as it applies to information systems, and distinguishes the four levels of properties as empirics, syntactic, semantics, and pragmatics. This is likened to a semiotic ladder running from the physical world to the social (business) world. The semiotic framework consists of two main components, these being the human information functions and the IT platform considerations. These are both split to three sub-components.

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Social World, developer actives would be:

To determine how best to match the negative responses of some staff to new technology with the high expectations of others, by designing a system which takes account of both To ensure the legal aspects such as compliance with the Data Protection Act (DPA) (2) are addressed. To ensure contractual information is protected in transmission. To meet the cultural standards held by those who work in an organisation whose purpose is to support disadvantaged young people.

Issues are:

Lack of computer literacy among some CSA staff, its status as a charity will probably restrict funding available for the system, feelings of protection for financial data versus lack of (apparent) concern voiced about personal data of vulnerable young people. The wish to accommodate training in IT for young people, without concern that this may lead to opportunities for any who have anti-social tendencies to affect the overall operation of the system by having access. The lack of realisation that today’s young people in the age range 12 to 24, whether from a deprived or difficult family background may be conversant with the use of computers. _________________________ 1. Kangassalo et al, (1995), p 358. 2. Stamper et al, (1987), p 43-78. 3. Data Protection Act 1998.

Pragmatics, developer activities would be:

To attempt resolution between conflicting attitudes in conversation which were expressed about the value of the system, and consider capital and revenue funding for the new system.

Issues are:

To determine how the system would be supported, and responsibility for the support.

Semantics, developer activities would be:

To attempt to model the syntactic structures, which are by nature, the technical concerns, to the semantic which concern the world are matched, in a machine-independent manner.

Issues are:

Security concerns, which are people-related, with system issues, which are software dependent.

Syntactics, developer activities would be:

The formalisation of documentation of the system specification,

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