‘Social workers should challenge managerialism’

Social workers were urged to challenge “managerialism” within social care and stand up for what they believe in at one of the biggest social care events of the year yesterday.

Speaking at the conference, entitled Affirming Our Value Base in Social Work and Social Care and organised by Nottingham Trent University, Viviene Cree, professor of social work at the University of Edinburgh, said that social workers needed to join forces with others who held similar views within their organisations.

“It’s worth finding out who is still with us in supporting [social care] values from within. You might find there are more people than you think,” she said.

Social workers at the conference, which was attended by around 2, 000 delegates, spoke of feeling suffocated by bureaucratic management and being forced to become care managers and budget rationers rather than working face to face with clients.

Cree said that support for social care values could sometimes come from councillors rather than managers themselves. She added that practitioners broke the rules on a day-to-day basis and while this was not a good situation it allowed them to hold onto their professional integrity.

“Each one of us can do something in our own agencies if we take heart,” she said.

Read blogs from Peter Beresford, professor of social policy at Brunel University, and Ray Jones, former chair of the British Association of Social Workers about the conference.

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