Social policy is central to social work practice. This textbook is designed to help students, practitioners and academics think critically about the relationship between policy and practice; particularly in how policy both structures and informs practice. Reflective questions help critical thinking and links to websites of substantive information across the UK and internationally help keep you up-to-date with policy developments. The authors’ experience and skills in working with different service user groups combine to provide a constructive and critical approach to working with social policy in an era of welfare retrenchment. Key topics include: discretion and practice; social work training and education; safeguarding children; responses to the needs of looked after children; personalization in adult care; ‘race’ and welfare policy; domestic violence; mental health and capacity; and comparing social work and social care internationally.
Chapter 1: Discretion in the History and Development of Social Work
Discretion in the History and Development of Social Work
Autonomous decision-making is often cited as a defining trait of professionalism and so discretion – to utilise one’s knowledge, skills and values as a basis for decision-making – is central to what it is to ‘be’ a professional social worker. Given recent concerns about the quality of social work practice, there have been developments which have sought to constrain discretion in practice. This is on the basis that practitioner discretion is implicated in poor decision-making, and so needs to be constrained if the quality of outcomes in social work are to be improved. In this chapter, I revisit particular ‘moments’ in the history of social work ...