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

The Public Authority: Social Work and the State

The public authority: Social work and the state

Although the Third Way makes large claims about its radical redefinition of the contract between the citizen and the state, there is a big hole at its centre. Nowhere does it satisfactorily define the role and responsibility of the public authority in the democratic governance of society. For all the detailed prescriptions of top-down supervisory boards, regional authorities and regulatory committees, there are no clear principles in accordance with which a complex, plural, multi-racial, open system can practise self-rule, by and on behalf of citizens.

Instead, what is outlined in its various policy documents is a set of institutions through which one part of that system (the public sector and its ...

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