Journal Article

A Critical Perspective on Quality within the Personal Social Services: Prospects and Concerns

David Watson

in The British Journal of Social Work

Published on behalf of British Association of Social Workers

Volume 32, issue 7, pages 877-891
Published in print October 2002 | ISSN: 0045-3102
Published online October 2002 | e-ISSN: 1468-263X | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/bjsw/32.7.877
A Critical Perspective on Quality within the Personal Social Services: Prospects and Concerns

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This paper considers the development of ‘quality’ within the personal social services over the last decade. In particular, it locates ‘quality’ within a managerial discourse, which de‐politicizes and minimizes the critical aspects of the concept in order to increase organizational scrutiny and control through the use and development of performance measurement. It is in this critical context that the prospects and concerns for recent policy initiatives such as the Labour Government's ‘Modernising Social Services’ are considered. It is the contention of the paper that the critical and empowering aspects of recent policy developments and quality approaches will be minimized, as they are subsumed into activities which are presented as technical and value‐free. Further, that unless this process is critically questioned and challenged by managers and other stakeholders ‘quality’ and its development will lead to greater proceduralization, increasing bureaucracy and ultimately commodification of the work processes.

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Social Work

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