New Labour: new challenges and (fewer) opportunities

Steve Rogowski

in Social work

Published by Policy Press

Published in print October 2010 | ISBN: 9781847424488
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447303527 | DOI:
New Labour: new challenges and (fewer) opportunities

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The decline of social work in Britain accelerated during the New Labour years after the election of Tony Blair in 1997 and during Gordon Brown's time as prime minister. Despite talk of the ‘Third Way’, New Labour has largely continued with Thatcherism or neoliberalism, including a sustained ideological and material investment in the superiority of ‘market society’. One consequence has been the increased privatisation of services, as well the use of the voluntary sector in their provision. Social work is now often subsumed under ‘social care’; it is no longer a qualification for probation, nor does it have the central role it had in relation to young offending, and the approved social-worker role in relation to mental health has also been diluted. Although a new social-work degree and various post-qualifying courses have been introduced, social work itself is ever-more dominated by managerialism. What remains is essentially limited to rationing and risk assessment, which have to be carried out as speedily as possible under the direction of managers.

Keywords: New Labour; social work; Britain; Tony Blair; Third Way; neoliberalism; privatisation; social care; managerialism; risk assessment

Chapter.  9185 words. 

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