Journal Article

Social Work in the Context of Adult Social Care in England and the Resultant Implications for Social Work Education

Mark Lymbery and Karen Postle

in The British Journal of Social Work

Published on behalf of British Association of Social Workers

Volume 40, issue 8, pages 2502-2522
Published in print December 2010 | ISSN: 0045-3102
Published online April 2010 | e-ISSN: 1468-263X | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/bjsw/bcq045
Social Work in the Context of Adult Social Care in England and the Resultant Implications for Social Work Education

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The introduction of policies to transform adult social care, combined with scrutiny of social workers' roles and functions, has created considerable uncertainty about the future of social work with adults. This paper explores the implications of these policy changes, arguing that a number of dilemmas for practitioners—the balance between a preventative focus and tight budgets, autonomy and protection, safeguarding and capacity—will exist in the changed policy framework. In addition, it suggests that the various core functions of social work—assessment, advocacy and brokerage, safeguarding and capacity—also contain elements of conflict and incompatibility. As a result, the future of social work in this policy area runs a strong risk of becoming both fragmented and isolated. This could be reflected in the education requirements for social workers where, both historically and as a result of recent bitter experiences, the key priorities clearly relate to child protection rather than adult social care. To counter this, the paper suggests a number of core areas of practice that are common across social work, and that therefore continue to argue for the maintenance of a generic qualification. In addition, it specifies particular aspects of practice with adults that should continue to be highlighted.

Keywords: Adult social care; personalisation; community care

Journal Article.  8072 words. 

Subjects: Social Work

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