Journal Article

Regulation and Risk in Social Work: The General Social Care Council and the Social Care Register in Context

Kenneth McLaughlin

in The British Journal of Social Work

Published on behalf of British Association of Social Workers

Volume 37, issue 7, pages 1263-1277
Published in print October 2007 | ISSN: 0045-3102
Published online July 2006 | e-ISSN: 1468-263X | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/bjsw/bcl079
Regulation and Risk in Social Work: The General Social Care Council and the Social Care Register in Context

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The 2000 Care Standards Act led to the setting up the General Social Care Council (GSCC) as the new governing professional body for social workers and other social care employees in England.1 The GSCC published national Codes of Practice for social care staff and their employers in 2002, whilst 1 April 2003 saw the introduction of the Social Care Register. The stated aim of these developments is to protect the public, improve the quality of care offered by social workers and increase public confidence in the profession. However, such intentions disguise the increase in regulatory control that the GSCC and social care employers have gained over the workforce—intrusions that have met relatively little criticism. By locating these developments within a broader social context, one in which risk and its management are at the forefront of contemporary social policy and practice, this paper argues that underlying the debate is a climate of fear and distrust in which there is a tendency to view people as either vulnerable, dangerous or both. Such a degraded view of the subjects of social work also pertains to social workers themselves, who are simultaneously seen as assessors of risk, at risk and as a risk.

Keywords: risk; regulation; vulnerability

Journal Article.  6765 words. 

Subjects: Social Work

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