Managerialism and the social work business

Steve Rogowski

in Social work

Published by Policy Press

Published in print October 2010 | ISBN: 9781847424488
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447303527 | DOI:
Managerialism and the social work business

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This chapter explores the growth of managerialism and the development of the ‘social-work business’ in Britain. Since the 1980s, more effective private-sector-type management has been presented as the panacea for almost every problem facing the public services, including social work. The introduction of managerialism and the social-work business have taken social work away from relationship-based activity, let alone anything more radical, critical, or even progressive. The rhetoric refers to ‘empowerment’, ‘choice’, and ‘needs-led assessment’, and there is an attempt to recreate the ‘client’ or ‘service user’ as a ‘consumer’/‘customer’, particularly as in the personalisation agenda. Significantly, we often see social-care organisations having to adapt to meet their targets rather than the real needs of the people they are supposed to serve. The chapter also discusses the emphasis on markets, the mixed economy, the expansion and intensification of regulation, consumerism as a major aspect of the social-work business, and privatisation and the voluntary sector.

Keywords: social work; Britain; managerialism; social-work business; social care; markets; mixed economy; regulation; consumerism; privatisation

Chapter.  9094 words. 

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