Management in Social Work

By Veronica Coulshed and Audrey Mullender.



ISBN 0 333 72413 5

Audrey Mullender has dedicated this revised second edition of
Management in Social Work to the author of the first
(1990) edition, Veronica Coulshed, who died in 1992. Revising the
work of another author is both a challenge as well as a homage. All
the more so when the managerialisation of social workers, and the
corporate responsibilities of frontline managers, have increased
beyond recognition in the period between the first and second

Mullender skilfully combines the most relevant chunks of
Coulshed’s text with material from the bonanza of management
theories developed in the 1990s. Taken as a whole however, the book
does not properly connect with operational management on the ground

In particular, not enough attention is paid to the management of
risk, which is the day-to-day, bread and butter job of social work
managers – assessing risk in emergency referrals, managing risk in
staff and team workloads, including how the risks in waiting lists
are managed, and exploring how risks to staff and service users are
managed from a perspective of their health and well being.

Modern managers on the frontline are responsible for many things
these days that are not mentioned here – the management of sickness
absence, the management of health and safety concerns,
incorporating Best Value methods into team and service management,
and the management of eligibility criteria within a devolved and
usually inadequate budget for the purpose.

But these are only sins of omission. What is included is a
wide-ranging scan of the field, including excellent sections on the
role of managers in raising standards and promoting quality in
service provision. At the heart of the book is the time-honoured
relationship between the manager and the worker. Now that hasn’t
changed, even if it is frayed at the edges.

Anthony Douglas is executive director of community
services, London Borough of Havering and editor (with Terry
Philpot) of Caring and Coping: A Guide to Social Services,
(Routledge, 1999)

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