Journal Article

Personalisation: Perceptions of the Role of Social Work in a World of Brokers and Budgets

Janet Leece and David Leece

in The British Journal of Social Work

Volume 41, issue 2, pages 204-223
Published in print March 2011 | ISSN: 0045-3102
Published online July 2010 | e-ISSN: 1468-263X | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/bjsw/bcq087
Personalisation: Perceptions of the Role of Social Work in a World of Brokers and Budgets

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There are growing numbers of people using personalised support and it has been argued that this system of social welfare requires a very different workforce, with a re-evaluation of the role of social work. This paper reports empirical research that explores the perceptions of sixty-six disabled people, carers and elders of the role social workers should perform in a personalised world. The study used a grounded theory approach, obtaining data from a thread posted on eighteen internet forums. This novel methodology allowed access to ‘hard to reach’ groups and encouraged participation by individuals whose contributions may be inhibited by more traditional research methods. The analysis revealed that notions of power and autonomy were fundamental in understanding respondents' views of social work with concerns raised about the power of social workers and statutory organisations. These findings have implications for the recommendations made by the Social Work Task Force in 2009 for the reform of social work that argues for social work to have a greater professional status and potentially more power in the support relationship.

Keywords: Personalisation; social work role; service brokerage; power and autonomy; disabled adults and carers

Journal Article.  7531 words. 

Subjects: Social Work

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