The Modernising Child, Youth and Family ‘Expert’ Panel’s Interim Report is rhetorically powerful at times. The form of the report expands and contracts like a concertina and is replete with what Noam Chomsky (1989) refers to as necessary illusions and emotionally potent over-simplifications. In order to consider the ideological underpinnings of this document it is necessary to dig beneath the surface façade.
Re-imagining Social Work is delighted to welcome this guest contribution to our blog by Stephen Crossley who blogs in England about the Troubled Families Programme, looking at how the key workers (or ‘troubleshooters’ as David Cameron has called them) are enacting the troubled families agenda and if/how they are negotiating it and/or resisting it. You can read more about his work here. Stephen is undertaking a PhD in the School of Applied Social Sciences, Durham University and is interested in how some families are constituted as a threat to society.
I listened with interest to Lyndal Greenslade’s podcast and read the related paper with a mix of excitement and concern (Greenslade, McAuliffe, & Chenoweth, 2014; Podsocs, 2014). Both of these items were kindly posted on this website by Liz Beddoe. The podcast and paper described radical ways in which social workers in Australia work covertly to the advantage of their clients. For example, turning a blind eye to behaviour that was contrary to care plans, in order to avoid a more arbitrary use of power by other professionals. This covert activism must be considered in the context of the social workers’ ‘deep critical reflection’ on their practice, and an organisational climate experienced as being increasingly hostile to the professional values held by social workers.
You can access a free copy of Lyndal’s recent paper: Social Workers’ Experiences of Covert Workplace Activism.
For more on the history, and recent renaissance, of radical social work see the page on the history of social work website.