New Labour's modernisation agenda has produced an avalanche of change that has posed formidable challenges for everyone involved in social work, whether as service users, practitioners or managers.
"Modernising Social Work" provides a radical appraisal of the far-reaching changes in their theoretical, historical and policy contexts. The book is organised into three sections that consider: the inter-relationship of modernisation and managerialism, modernisation's impact on service users and the ways in which social workers and front-line managers seek to exercise professional discretion for the benefit of service users within a workplace culture of intensified scrutiny and control. Analysis of a range of key developments in all three areas reveals the modernisation agenda as complex and contested.
The book's three sections cover the main issues of the modernisation agenda, making it ideal for teaching. Locating the issues in their theoretical, historical and policy contexts meets the needs of student readers and experienced social workers will appreciate the emphasis on empirical research as well as practice experience.
"Harris and White have edited an impressive collection of papers which address social work and the modernization agenda.......The texts should be regarded as timely and important reading for all students of social work and social policy". David Denney in Social Policy and Administration
"John Harris and Vicky White's edited collection is a valuable addition to the growing critical literature on New Labour and social work. Drawing on original research which builds on Harris' earlier groundbreaking analysis of the 'social work business', its contributors challenge the myth of modernisation as an ideology-free zone and provide valuable ammunition for those seeking to develop alternatives to managerial and market-driven approaches". Iain Ferguson, Senior Lecturer in Social Work,
University of Stirling
John Harris is a Professor in the School of Health and Social Studies at the University of Warwick. He previously worked for many years as a social worker and a manager in social services. His teaching and research interests include managerialism, citizenship and the history of social work and he has published widely.
Vicky White is an Associate Professor in the School of Health and Social Studies at the University of Warwick. She was previously a social worker in field and residential settings in the statutory sector and has explored developments in practice in a number of publications.
Introduction: modernising social work ~ John Harris and Vicky White; Part one: Modernisation and managerialism: Performance management in modernised social work~ John Harris and Peter Unwin; This is the modern world! Working in a social services contact centre ~ Nigel Coleman; Modernisation and the role of agency social workers ~ Peter Unwin; Part two: Modernisation and service users: Customer-citizenship in modernised social work ~ John Harris; Modernising children's services: partnership and participation in policy and practice ~ Katrin Bain; Modernisation and the delivery of user-centred services ~ Denise Tanner; Part three: Modernisation and professional practice: Quiet challenges? Professional practice in modernised social work ~ Vicky White; Managing to be professional? Team managers and practitioners in modernised social work ~ Tony Evans; Afterword: Intensification, individualisation, inconvenience, interpellation ~ John Harris and Vicky White