From at risk to a risk: regulating social work

Kenneth McLaughlin

in Social work, politics and society

Published by Policy Press

Published in print July 2008 | ISBN: 9781847420459
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447303572 | DOI:
From at risk to a risk: regulating social work

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In addition to social workers as assessors of, and subject to, risk, this chapter looks at a third and more recent trend: that of social workers themselves as being viewed as a risk. It highlights the increasing trend towards statutory control and regulation of the profession, in particular the setting up of the general social care councils, the drive towards registration of the social care workforce, and associated codes of conduct for employers and employees involved in social care. Such measures, invariably presented as necessary to prevent the abuse of the vulnerable, entail a vast increase in the surveillance and regulation of a substantial number of the workforce in the United Kingdom, both in work and outside work. The chapter argues that the relative lack of criticism of what are unprecedented regulatory measures is reflective of a society and a profession that are acutely sensitive to perceived dangers, and where there is a presumption that we cannot trust anyone, including those who should care for us.

Keywords: United Kingdom; social work; social workers; risk; social care councils; registration; codes of conduct; social care; regulation

Chapter.  7337 words. 

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