Policy changes in social work

I believe the three elements of authorities constabularies, bureau pattern guidelines and a theoretical background are indispensable for a societal worker to work efficaciously. In my sentiment, the best state of affairs for both the societal workers and the client is a theoretical foundation kept up-to-date with policy alterations and changes and the agencies’ single guidelines. They each have single and of import functions that when placed jointly increases the degree of service provided. If we adopt the hypothesis that societal workers no longer necessitate theories, that they merely have to adhere to authorities policies and bureau pattern guidelines, I believe this could impact badly upon the societal workers, bureaus and the quality of attention for the clients. The three parts of the equation are of import and I believe that the best solution is the go oning combination of theory, authorities policy and bureau guidelines.

First, as we are looking at societal work overall, instead than a peculiar sector, I think it would he helpful to specify ‘social work’ . Social work has ne’er been a individual entity and as a consequence, it is unfastened to the hazard of over-generalisation. InSocial Work and Social Welfare1990, Banks ( 1985 ) stated that societal workers are those whose chief duties are‘counselling and societal attention planning and who work for/or are monitored by a local authorization within the footings of mention of the Local Authority Services Act 1970.’In 1982, this was defined in the Barclay Report by the National Institute for Social Work ( NISW ) . ( Carter, P, Jeffs T & A ; Smith M 1990, p. 91 ; Walton 1982 pp 45-7 ) .

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Historically, words connected with societal work were typically caring, kindness, assisting and helping. During the clip when Victorian society was described by Hall ( 1952 ) as being, ‘divided into Two States, the Rich and the Poor, was reflected in its division into Givers and Receivers’ . This followed the turning acknowledgment of the extent to which poorness remained a major characteristic of UK society. The context in which many were employed had changed. The outgrowth of managerialism spread through many local governments recasting much of the work in footings of run intoing organizational aims instead than local community demands. In peculiar, the focal point was upon the more effectual usage of resources and the efficiency of services – particularly with respect to lodging and attention. Scientific literature and research relevant to societal work pattern has grown expansively over the last two decennaries. ( Walton 1982, pp. 45-51 ; Lynn 1999, p. 941 ; Ife J 1997 pp. 1-10 ; Jones 2006 ; Hall 1952, p. 6 ) .

Further through history when societal work became a portion of universities, it created a divide between academe and bureau. This displacement had two effects, it separated formal preparation societal work and theory from pattern and it because universities were non sympathetic towards its career, and classs were marginalised. A farther consequence was that it widened the spread between universities and bureaus as lectors strived to derive academic acknowledgment. Yet once more, we see the troubles between the two issues: theory and pattern. To me, this was a proof that societal work was no longer merely a set of people aimed at ‘helping ‘ , they were professionals with preparation aimed at advancing societal alteration, problem-solving in human relationships and the authorization and release of people to heighten wellbeing. To dismiss the demand for theory would look like a backward measure in footings of societal work being deemed a professional career, instead than a ‘helping profession ‘ as it was known as for much of the earlier portion of last century. ( Lynn 1999, p.942 ; Walton 1982, p. 45 ; Gubbay J, Middleton, C & A ; Ballard C 1997, p. 345 )

As we can see from these alterations in history, the execution and being of authorities policies are built-in to the function of a societal worker. A outstanding event is The Local Authorities Social Services Act 1970 that lists all the Acts of the Apostless approving the privision of service and giving authorization for action by its employees. There are three basic purposes of the Act, the first being a focal point on preventive action which should hopefully avoid the incidence of intensive intercession. The 2nd is the provison of a broad scope of services such as resudnetial attention, reding and domiciliary services. The last purpose is the statutory remotion of unsafe persons from society. ( Walton 1982, p.45 ; Paul Spicker 2000 ) .

Much concern has been made of the uncertainnesss and eventualities of pattern, and of the demand for societal workers to do more expressed usage of formal cognition in order to cut down this uncertainness. Indeed, there is a ‘dammed if we do and dammed if we don’t’ belief environing societal work. It is a profession that is frequently questioned/blamed, for illustration if a kid is being abused, by and large one of the first ideas were ‘where was the societal worker? ’ Paradoxically, if the kid is removed, the frequently people are negative about this measure, reprobating their action. However, this focal point on doing certainty out of uncertainness could potential rubric over the ways in which both cognition and pattern frequently propel practicians towards early and certain opinions when a place of ‘respectful uncertainty’ might be more appropriate. Supplying accomplishments that will assist societal workers to cover with uncertainness rises challenges for societal work pedagogues. If they are to fit societal workers with the accomplishments to exert ‘wise opinion under conditions of uncertainty’ , they need to nail the ways in which both theory and popular cognition are used to organize a clear apprehension of the instance. ( Walton 1982, pp. 45-62 ) .

Evidence-based pattern is a new paradigm that promotes more effectual societal intercessions by promoting the most effectual usage of the best available scientific grounds in professional decision-making. It is prevailing in the USA and is now going progressively used in the UK. It is now portion of the societal work course of study at universities, it involves learning pupils the values and accomplishments they need to place, critically appraise, and use practice-relevant scientific grounds. It is mostly used to increase the answerability of all signifiers of authorities services by mensurating the effectivity of the services and an debut of a broad scope of public presentation indexs. To me, this seems like a motion that has the possible to be good every bit good as non-beneficial. I believe it is ever good to measure a service’s effectivity in the purpose of larning what is working for farther betterment, but conversely it depends on what is done with the informations. If the information is used to force bureaus that are already over-worked and under funded, so it could put farther force per unit area on them to execute particularly if the motion is driven by economic sciences instead than service effectivity. Which unluckily is frequently the instance. ( Research Mindedness in Social Work and Social Care 1998-2000 )

In the articleValue Bases in Social Work Education, Elisabeth Lynn states the two key values in societal work instruction are societal justness and personal lovingness. She believes they are linked in a dialectic attack that shows how structural power affects all facets of an person. They are political orientations every bit good as portion of a world where the societal system is unfair and accordingly, attention, concern and regard demand to be portion of the procedure. Lynn emphasises that instruction and a dedication to debaring a inhibitory society are of go oning significance today. Lynn advocates that a synthesis of both political orientations and by developing a theoretical account of pattern that is based upon a position of societal justness is the most effectual purpose. This position seems to me to recommend the importance of theory and pattern in the societal work kingdom, demoing inter-relational facets. Lynn quotes Jordan ( 1991 ) :

‘The challenge of societal work pedagogues is how to show in ways which empower and enable pupils, instead than palsies and confound them. This will necessitate clear thought and good instruction, non merely list of competancies to be assessed. ( Jordan, 1991, p. 5 )

( Lynn 1999, pp 939-4 ; Walton 1982, pp 45-60 ) .

In his article Social Work Must Brace Itself, Ray Jones answers the inquiry ‘why is societal work being reviewed and questioned now? ’ Apart from the grounds we have already discussed such as the huge incidence of alterations within the sector, he besides outlines several other grounds. The first being that in England and Scotland the original place base of societal services and societal work sections within province services is being disbanded. The following ground is societal work no longer merely exists in the authorities sector ; it now exists in voluntary and independent sectors. This means that the authorities is now looking to private bureaus to supply societal work and attention, instead than them being entirely responsible as they were in the yesteryear. This means that there is less control by the authorities to supervise the quality of services provided and more accent on the single bureau to supply quality attention and services. ( Jones 2006, p. 32-3 ) .

Following, Jones highlights the of import point that many societal workers are isolated, peculiarly when they work independently and are non portion of an administration. It is so imperative that they have the consistent theoretical background to map to supply a consistent service to clients. Jones’ last point seems vitally of import to me, is the increasing malaise and dissatisfaction felt by societal workers because of the burgeoning bureacratic alterations. Hence, their work load additions because of the increased paperwork they need to cover with and accordingly have less contact clip with their clients Jones believes that there can be small argument these issues perpetuate a diminution in professional trust and autonomous usage of clip, and increased rationing to equilibrate budgets, which can merely adversely affect the clients. ( Jones 2006, p. 32-3 ) .

Jones recognises that non all alterations are negative and foreground how societal workers have propelled a motion off from what he calls ‘a paternalistic and patronizing professionalism’ to partnerships where power is shared. Clients are treated more equitably and recognised as portion of the power equation, whereas in the yesteryear they were perceived as holding few rights, with really small power to state what they needed. It was besides mostly based upon a division of ‘deserving’ and ‘non-deserving’ in respects to who was appointed attention. Unfortunately, this job can still go on today where people are stigmatised by some members of society who apportion incrimination and judgement. Now, clients have a stringer voice, hence authorising themselves and in my sentiment assisting the societal work sector become more effectual and just. ( Lynn 1999, p. 940 ; Jones 2006, p. 32-3 ) .

Sing policies, there is an premise that one time a policy is introduced so it is the most effectual 1 for covering with that peculiar issue. Policies that were non implemented are frequently discarded and forgotten. It is by and large thought of that societal work policies are fundamentally benevolent in kernel, when in fact this might non ever be the instance, frequently it’s chiefly to make with economic sciences. The function of the bureau guidelines and moralss is imperative. ( Hall, Land, Parker and Webb 1975, p. 8 ; Hill, M & A ; Bramley, G 1986, pp 2-10 ) .

Agency patterns can change greatly, so the codification of pattern guideline should ever be accessible to the societal worker so that they can work more efficaciously and exactly. It is the agency’s duty to guarantee that the staff and besides the clients if applicable are cognizant of any policy alterations. Social workers can besides maintain themselves up-to-date with policy alterations through the media. It is of import to link these processs to the stated principals underlying the foundation of societal work. Without such guidelines, the consistence of attention may go doubtful and confounding for all parties involved. ( Carter, P, Jeffs T & A ; Smith M 1990, p. 100-2 ) .

After finishing this research there is no uncertainty to me that all three elements need to be in topographic point for societal work to work efficaciously, for all parties involved. The authorities lineations and updates the policies, the bureau has further single guidelines that are specific to their field and the societal worker has the important foundation of theoretical makings. All parties have single and of import functions that when placed jointly potentially increases the degree and quality of service provided.


  • Carter, P, Jeffs T & A ; Smith M 1990.Social Work and Social Welfare Yearbook 2, 1990. Open University Press, Milton Keyes.
  • Coates, K. and Silburn, R 1970.Poverty. The disregarded Englishmans. Penguin, Harmondsworth.
  • Gubbay J, Middleton, C & A ; Ballard C 1997.The Students Companion to Sociology. Blackwell Publishers, Oxford.
  • Hall, M P 1952.The Social Services of Modern England.Routledge and Kegan Paul, London.
  • Hall, P, Land, H, Parker R and Webb, A 1975.Change, Choice and Conflict in Social Policy. Heinemann, London.
  • Hill, M & A ; Bramley, G 1986.Analyzing Social Policy. Basil Blackwell, Oxford.
  • Ife, J 1997.Rethinking Social Work. Towards critical pattern. Longman, NSW.
  • Jordan, B 1991.Competences and Values, Social Work Education, 10 ( 1 ) .
  • Payne M 1995.Social Work and Community Care.Macmillan Press Ltd, London.
  • Walton, R G 1982.Social Work 2000. The hereafter of societal work in a changing society. Longman, London and New York.


i‚· Jones, R May 18-May 24, 2006. Social Work Must Brace Itself. Community Care. Sutton, Issue 1623, UK.

  • Lynn, E 1999. Value Bases in Social Work Education. British Journal of Social Work, Issue 29, Vol 6.

Internet Sites

i‚· Research Mindedness in Social Work and Social Care, 1998-2000, Department of Health. Retrieved 8th September 2006, from: hypertext transfer protocol: //www.resmind.swap.ac.uk/content/05_in_context/in_context_07.htm

i‚· Spicker, P 2000. An Introduction to Social Policy. Aberdeen, Scotland: The Robert Gordon University. Retrieved 8th September 2006, from: hypertext transfer protocol: //www2.rgu.ac.uk/publicpolicy/introduction.

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