The New Labour government in the UK is committed to a programme of reform of the welfare state that will pull away safety nets and replace them by trampolines, to bounce citizens back into active participation. Its regime of 'tough love' will make more demands on those claiming benefits and services, as well as clamping down on dependencey, fraud and crime. This will be done by changing the culture of welfare agencies, towards promoting achievement and independence, as well as meeting 'genuine need'. In Social Work and the Third Way, Bill Jordan provides an accessible and lively analysis of the tensions between 'toughness' and 'love' in the Third Way's political philosophy, and the problems of implementing New Labour

Social Work and Street Credibility

Social work and street credibility

The personal social services have a double agenda – to serve the policy purposes of government, and to be credible and relevant factors in the lives of those they encounter. This chapter investigates the emerging tensions between these elements. As ‘tough love’ requires social workers to be more demanding of their clients (asking them to contribute more and behave better), it must – to do its business – also become more meaningfully involved in their lives. It is not enough for social services to be more efficient and effective by government standards; they must also ring true in terms of the ways in which service users make sense of their worlds.

A large part of the White ...

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