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Welfare Reform on the Web (June 2008): Social care - UK

Ambiguity and cooperation in the implementation of adult protection policy

C. McCreadie and others

Social Policy and Administration, vol. 42, 2008, p. 248-266

In 2000 the Department of Health issued No Secrets, a document providing guidance to social services departments, the police, health authorities and NHS trusts on developing and implementing multi-agency policies and procedures to safeguard vulnerable adults from abuse. Multi-agency working has been a policy imperative of the New Labour government, but the top-down imposition of viable partnerships has been problematic because their attainment rests on overcoming at the ground level the differences in knowledge base, cultures and power relationships found among different agencies. This article contributes to the research on the implementation of multi-agency working mandated in No Secrets by examining the perspectives of staff in local agencies through the lens of Matland's ambiguity-conflict model of policy implementation.

Groupwork practice in social work

T. Lindsay and S. Orton

Exeter: Learning Matters, 2008

Both the new social work degree and post-qualifying award in social work require that students are competent at working with groups, and such skills are also valuable in inter-professional practice, partnership working and within the social care workforce. The book introduces the practicalities of planning, establishing, facilitating and evaluating social work projects, and contains common-sense guidance on setting up, facilitating and closing small helping groups, inter-professional and other groups. It discusses the relevant skills, stages and decisions in groupwork, while advice is provided on what to do when things seem to be going wrong.

The McDonaldization of social work

D. Dustin

Aldershot: Ashgate, 2007

This book examines the introduction of care management into social work practice using aspects of social theory, including George Ritzers McDonaldization of Society thesis. Care management is analysed as an example of the managerial application of efficiency, calculability, predictability and control to social work practice. These principles, put to good use in organizations that produce tangible outputs at a profit, are being increasingly applied in non-profit public sector organisations where the outcomes depend on intangibles such as professional relationships. It is argued that the McDonaldization process heightens dilemmas, such as cost versus rights, for professionals working in the social services. The book examines the day-to-day implications of care management for social work practice and questions whether the construction of service users as customers contributes to empowering practice. The book's in-depth analysis of the policy background, implementation and practice of care management will resonate with social workers in other national contexts, such as the US, where the care management model has been introduced.

Reclaiming social work: challenging neo-liberalism and promoting social justice

I. Ferguson

London: Sage, 2008

The book examines how social work's commitment to social justice has been deepened and enriched by its contact with wider social movements. It explores the tensions between social work values and a market-driven agenda, and locates new sources of hope for the social work profession in the developing resistance to managerialism. The book:

  1. discusses pertinent social work issues such as inequality and risk, the voluntary sector, and service-user involvement
  2. examines values such as democracy, solidarity, accountability, participation, justice, equality, liberty and diversity
  3. draws on diverse examples to illustrate theoretical concepts.
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