Journal Article

‘There Are Wonderful Social Workers but it’s a Lottery’: Older People’s Views about Social Workers

Jill Manthorpe, Jo Moriarty, Joan Rapaport, Roger Clough, Michelle Cornes, Les Bright and Steve Iliffe

in The British Journal of Social Work

Published on behalf of British Association of Social Workers

Volume 38, issue 6, pages 1132-1150
Published in print September 2008 | ISSN: 0045-3102
Published online February 2007 | e-ISSN: 1468-263X | DOI:
‘There Are Wonderful Social Workers but it’s a Lottery’: Older People’s Views about Social Workers

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This paper draws on the evaluation of the impact of the English National Service Framework for Older People (NSFOP) on the experiences and expectations of older people, four years into its ten-year programme. The NSFOP focuses on achieving cultural changes so that older people and their carers are treated with respect, dignity and fairness. The evaluation took a mixed methods consultation approach in ten localities. This paper focuses on what was said by older people, their carers and in voluntary sector groups about social workers’ roles and activities. The data suggest that they find social workers’ roles unclear and variable. They appreciate a person-centred approach, informed about older people’s needs in a confusing social care system. Their perceptions tally with those of social workers that the tasks of care management can be reductionist, but older people also desire specialist knowledge combined with a relationship that is ‘on their side’. Social workers’ roles in rationing support and means-testing did not seem to promote such models. At a time of rising expectations about the skills of social workers and of changes to social work roles in England and Scotland, this study provides one of the few examples of information directly gathered from older people themselves.

Keywords: social work; older people; satisfaction; quality assurance; professional role; user perspectives

Journal Article.  7745 words. 

Subjects: Social Work

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