Managers, managerialism and social work with children and families: The deformation of a profession?

  • Rogowski S
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Managers and managerialism have brought about a fundamental transformation in the way welfare organisations carry out government policy. What social workers now do is set and tightly controlled by managers, this reflecting the move away from the administering of public services to their management. It stems from successive Conservative and New Labour governments accepting the neo-liberal ideology that the market is superior to the state and that public services need to be managed much like the private sector. Social workers no longer work in the administrative systems of the social democratic welfare state, with the increased power of managers undermining the system within which social work had developed. This paper argues this change has contributed to the deformation of social work as a profession, initially in relation to adult users and now in relation to children and families. Practitioners’ success is now often simply measured in terms of whether managers’ targets have been met. The result is that scope for a progressive, even radical/critical, practice is greatly reduced, though spaces that remain need to be utilised. Keywords:

Author-supplied keywords

  • Deformation of social work
  • Managers and managerialism
  • Neo-liberalism
  • Radical/critical practice
  • Social work with children and families

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  • Steve Rogowski

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