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Welfare Reform on the Web (August 2009): Social care - overseas

Social work supervision: an exploration of the current challenges in a rapidly changing social, economic and political environment

C. Noble and J. Irwin

Journal of Social Work, vol. 9, 2009, p. 345-358

This article reviews the impact of the new economic landscape of rampant, unchecked capitalism, a depleted welfare state, and relative morals on social work supervision. It finds that as social work has to contend with a more conservative and fiscally restrictive environment, practice supervision has become more focused on efficiency, accountability, and worker performance, often at the expense of professional and practice development. In addition, current research has identified a crisis in the probity of practice supervision, leading many practitioners to disillusionment and despair, and to a lack of opportunities to stop and critically reflect on practice situations.

Tackling the digital divide

Yu Cheung Wong and others

British Journal of Social Work, vol. 39, 2009, p. 754-767

Rapid development in computer technology, infrastructure, content and applications has placed ubiquitous access to the Internet within reach. However, the effects of exclusion and marginalisation are becoming more aggravated for those who do not know how to use the new technologies and who therefore cannot become effective e-citizens. This article considers the steps taken by Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong and South Korea to tackle the digital divide. All four countries have developed plans to promote technology use among children, but barriers to IT use remain high for older people, disabled people, and people with lower levels of education. The paper argues that, while improvement in ICT accessibility and knowledge are important, the promotion of community-based ICT user networks for certain disadvantaged groups is crucial to enhance their participation in the information society.

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