• Barriers facing social workers undertaking direct work with children and young people with a learning disability who communicate using non-verbal methods

      Prynallt-Jones, Katherine A.; Carey, Malcolm; Doherty, Pauline; University of Chester (Oxford University Press, 2017-03-03)
      Abstract: This paper analyses data drawn from a small group of qualified social workers’ specialising in work with disabled children who communicate using non-verbal methods. While a number of studies have criticised social services for neglecting disabled children, this paper re-evaluates evidence from the standpoint of a small group of experienced practitioners. Three substantive themes are explored which include: problems faced by practitioner’s communicating with children and young people; barriers to direct work; and positive engagement or use of creative methods. Among other findings, the paper highlights the complexity of communication techniques when seeking to accommodate diverse service user and carer needs, as well as creative responses used by practitioners despite significant barriers that include limited available training, technology and financial resources. Despite policy initiatives and legal requirements emphasising the importance of direct work and participation with disabled children, the conclusion reiterates the narrow focus of current risk-averse social work around disability, as well a need for additional resources and training to improve relationships, communication and meaningful support for children and young people that meet basic legal requirements.
    • 'Biomedical nemesis? Critical deliberations with regard health and social care integration for social work with older people’

      Carey, Malcolm; University of Chester (SAGE, 2016-06-28)
      This paper questions ongoing moves towards integration into health care for social work with older people in the UK. Whilst potentially constructing clearer pathways to support integration risks reducing welfare provisions for a traditional low priority user group, while further extending privatisation. Integration models also understate the ideological impact of biomedical perspectives within health and social care domains, conflate roles and undermine the potential positive role of ‘holistic’ multi-agency care. Constructive social work for older people is likely to further dilute within aggressive integrated models of welfare: which will be detrimental for meeting many of the complex needs of ageing populations.
    • Diversity in ageing, reductive welfare and potential new ways of utilising ethics in social work with Older People

      Carey, Malcolm; University of Chester (Routledge, 2019-01-15)
      This chapter examines some ethical and political challenges generated by the increasingly complex needs of an ageing society upon social work. It concentrates on the UK as a case study and critically evaluates related age-graded policies and practices relating to social work and care. The chapter includes a discussion of the on-going tensions between social diversity within an ageing society and the shrinking of formal care provision, alongside the impact of professional codes of ethics.
    • The fragmentation of social work and social care: some ramifications and a critique

      Carey, Malcolm; University of Chester (Oxford University Press, 2015-09-29)
      This paper critically appraises the impact of the fragmentation of social care and social work. In particular it examines the impact of splintered services and roles upon employees, service users and carers. The article concentrates upon three inter-related areas as part of a more general critique: first, reliability of services; second, relations with stakeholders; and finally, the identity of employees. Despite differences across sectors and some largely collateral benefits it is proposed that fragmentation has promoted inconsistent and unreliable services, the development of superficial relations with users and carers and the loss of belonging and fractured identities of social care employees. Fragmentation regularly spoils professional identities and generates uncertainty amidst attempts to provide effective or reliable services. Indeed fragmented, disorganised or reductive provisions often generate new risks for the recipients of services.
    • Is living well with dementia a credible aspiration for spousal carers?

      Tolhurst, Edward; Carey, Malcolm; Weicht, Bernhard; Kingston, Paul; Stafford University; University of Chester; University of Innsbruck (Taylor & Francis, 2018-05-21)
      In England there has been substantial policy development and an academic drive to promote the goal of ‘living well’ for people with dementia and their family members. This article critically evaluates the feasibility of this intention, with reference to the experience of those caring for people with the condition. Qualitative data are utilised from a study which explored how couples negotiate relationships and care. The focus of this paper is the perspectives of spousal carers and the challenges they encounter within their caring role. Views were obtained via semi-structured joint interviews where the carer participated alongside the person with dementia. The extent to which living well with dementia is a credible aspiration for carers is examined via three themes: identity subsumed under care responsibilities; the couple as an isolated family unit; and barriers to professional support. The findings highlight that experience of caring is highly complex and fraught with multiple practical, emotional and moral pressures. It is asserted that research into dementia and care relationships must avoid a zero sum situation, prompted by living well discourses, where attempts to bolster the position of people with dementia compound the marginalisation and stigmatisation of informal carers.
    • Issues of Ageing, Social Class, and Poverty

      Carey, Malcolm (Routledge, 2019-01-18)
      This chapter examines some ethical and political challenges generated by the increasingly complex needs of an ageing society upon social work. It concentrates on the UK as a case study and critically evaluates related age-graded policies and practices relating to social work and care. The chapter includes a discussion of the on-going ethical tensions between social diversity within an ageing society and the shrinking of formal care provision.
    • Journey’s end? From residual service to newer forms of pathology, risk aversion and abandonment in social work with older people

      Carey, Malcolm; University of Chester (SAGE, 2016-05-01)
      Summary: This article details how social work with older people is disappearing whilst also being supplanted by seemingly more cost-effective forms of intervention in the UK. This has included the use of higher numbers of unqualified staff in roles once completed by qualified social workers, alongside highly rationed interventions that utilise fewer staff or associate welfare professionals, including those drawn from health care. Findings: Such reforms represent important changes embedded within neo-liberal inspired professional discursive practices. These include the biomedicalization of ageing and associate narrow gaze interpretations of social care needs that privilege pathology and risk. For social work there has also occurred an ongoing retreat from older adults within communities: from care managed and personalised support to the extension of ‘risk averse’ safeguarding and promotion of personal autonomy and informal care. Rather than represent a break with the past such socially constructed and politically motivated reforms remain part of longer held societal and ideological trends. Importantly these include assumptions that older users remain a peripheral concern in contrast to other social groups or needs Applications: The article concludes that the social work profession needs to articulate its distinct role with regard its capability to provide substantive support to an ageing population alongside it’s capacity to look beyond a narrow and unsustainable focus on rationing or the endorsement of self-support, treating illness and controlling risk.
    • Mind the Gaps: The rise and implications of cynicism within social work

      Carey, Malcolm; University of Chester (Oxford University Press, 2012-08-24)
      This paper explores the notable rise of cynicism among state social workers in Britain. Theoretically, cynicism has been viewed as ‘deviant emotion’ and pathology or as offering a type of employee resistance that may protect or support a person’s identity. Drawing upon case study research with practising social workers, the article looks at three different case examples of employee cynicism. These include the cynic as organisational survivor, disenfranchised sceptic or altruist. It was found that, although cynicism within social work predominately emerges as an emotional response to structural change, other factors such as those embodied within professional discourses and government or academic rhetoric can also impact. Other factors such as risk-averse assumptions that distance the practitioner from the ‘service user’ or colleagues can also have influence. Although often viewed negatively, cynicism can greatly benefit an organisation or motivate a practitioner to challenge normative principles and promote the needs of service users and carers.
    • The neoliberal university, social work and personalised care for older adults

      Carey, Malcolm; University of Chester
      This article critically examines the impact of the neoliberal university upon social work education and practice relating to older people. It appraises market-led pedagogical reforms, including of the training of social workers who go on to work with older adults, such in support of policies including personalisation. Influence is drawn from the work of Nancy Fraser (2019): specifically, her understanding of ‘progressive neoliberalism’, or the improbable fusion of free market ideals with the politics of recognition to create a rejuvenated hegemonic bloc. This theoretical framework is utilized to analyse the prevalence of emancipatory constructs such as empowerment, participation, anti-oppression, equality, choice and independence within acutely underfunded, bureaucratic, and risk-averse fields of social care and social work. While benefiting some older ‘service users’, it is argued that personalisation policy regularly disadvantages or excludes older people within fragmented adult social care sectors. Progressive neoliberalism has helped to promote policies which envisage participative self-care whilst more often excluding or objectifying older adults, especially those with higher level needs.
    • ‘Paradigm shift? Biomedical science and social work thinking’

      Carey, Malcolm; University of Chester (Routledge, 2019-07-17)
      This chapter examines the relationship between biomedical science and social work thinking. It looks at the similarities and differences between two unique but increasingly closely associated ‘helping professions’. As part of the discussion, the role of paradigm, power and ideological disparities and distinct traditions are stressed, as well as the impact of ongoing policy-led reforms which continue to bring each profession closer together.
    • Some ethical limitations of privatisation within social work and social care in England for children and young people

      Carey, Malcolm; University of Chester (Routledge, 2019-07-01)
      The article considers some of the ethical impications of the ongoing privatisation of social care and social work services.
    • Some ethical limitations of privatising and marketizing social care and social work pro-vision in England for children and young people

      Carey, Malcolm; University of Chester (Taylor and Francis, 2019-03-01)
      This article analyses the negative ethical impact of privatisation, alongside the ongoing mar-ketisation of social care and social work provision for children and young people in England. It critically appraises the implications of a market-based formal social care system, which in-cludes the risk-averse and often detached role of social workers within ever more fragmented sectors of care. Analysis begins with a discussion of background policy and context. The ten-dency towards ‘service user’ objectification and commodification are then detailed, followed by a discussion of the limiting of choice for service users. Service and social fragmentation, and the often severely restricted ‘life chances’ of many children and young people in care, are then deliberated. The concluding discussion reiterates the moral implications of marketisation in relation to ethical frameworks, including those associated with autonomy, informed choice, social exclusion and social justice. The tendency towards children increasingly being utilised as a means to an end within business-orientated sectors of care is highlighted, alongside ethi-cal questions asked about the State’s purpose in providing a community of support.
    • Some limits and political implications of participation within health and social care for older adults

      Carey, Malcolm; University of Chester (Cambridge University Press, 2018-03-14)
      This paper critically examines service user participation and involvement for older adults. It concentrates upon research and community-led engagement for older people, and maintains that despite extensive support and expansion, participation offers a complex form of governance and ideological control, as well as a means by which local governments and some welfare professions seek to legitimise or extend their activities. Some of the paradoxes of participation are discussed, including tensions that persist between rhetorical claims of empowerment, active citizenship and democratic engagement on one hand, despite tendencies towards risk-aversion, welfare retrenchment and participant ambivalence on the other. The paper also highlights practical problems in relation to participative research and community involvement, and questions arguments that participation may challenge the authority of welfare professionals. Critical theory is drawn upon to contextualise the role of participative narratives within wider welfare, including its role in moving debate away from ownership or redistribution while masking and validating policy related goals which can counter many older people’s needs. Tension is also noted between participation projects represented as resource to support ageing identities as opposed to those representing technologies for social regulation and conformity.
    • Trapped in discourse? Obstacles to meaningful social work education, research and practice within the neoliberal university

      Carey, Malcolm; University of Chester
      This article appraises the role of the neoliberal university in regulating social work education, research and practice. The dominance of governments and employers in determining social work education is highlighted, alongside the ascendancy of skills-based and vocational training. Moreover, it is proposed that research, associated learning, and practice are now more often moulded around essentialist science-based, behavioural or functionalist paradigms, which fit conveniently with free market, politically conservative and authoritarian agendas. The neoliberal university is increasingly able to rationally prepare social workers to fulfil narrow ideological objectives, which includes priority given to attempts to empower, pathologise, and scientifically manage structurally disadvantaged populations from minority groups. Reductive paradigms, nevertheless, can struggle to cope with social fragmentation and diversity, with social work students often ill prepared for many of the complex challenges which they later face as qualified practitioners. Analysis for the article draws from critical theory, and it is concluded that market-based discourses and related professional paradigms - and the symbolically constituted and hyperreal fantasies which they help to maintain - can prove difficult to escape. Social work continues to face a precarious future within university settings in which free market narratives, associated norms, targets, and labour insecurity prevail.
    • The tyranny of ethics? Political challenges and tensions when applying ethical governance to qualitative social work research

      Carey, Malcolm; University of Chester (Taylor & Francis, 2018-11-29)
      This paper examines problems which current ethical governance processes generate for qualitative researchers within social work. It draws upon case studies and critical theory to detail the unpredictable and diverse nature of much social work qualitative research. It argues that too often this research is pitted against a narrow institutional focus placed on positivist-orientated empirical research and income generation. Overtly instrumental interpretations of ethics - often determined by realist and bioethical paradigms - can quickly inhibit the methodological dynamism required to meaningfully capture the complex and non-binary issues which social workers accommodate in their work and subsequent research. Arguments that policy-led, institutional and professional cultures have generated a conservative culture of risk-aversion within the neo-liberal university are also considered.
    • Universal credit, Lone mothers and poverty: Some context and challenges for social work with children and families

      Carey, Malcolm; University of Chester
      Universal Credit is a streamlined benefits delivery system initially introduced in the United Kingdom (UK) in 2008. Conditionality-based welfare policies are increasingly international in scale, and are now widely adopted by neoliberal governments on the basis that paid employment offers the most efficacious route out of poverty for citizen-subjects. Numerous studies suggest otherwise, and highlight their negative impact upon the social rights, lived experiences, and attempts to alleviate poverty for service users. This article analyses the reformed benefit system and wider workfare policies effect upon lone mothers, including as a consequence of engagement with an ever more stigmatizing benefit system, and associated risks posed by sanctions or precarious low-paid employment. It highlights some of the consequences for social work with children and families of Universal Credit: including ongoing tensions and challenges created for the profession by the punitive policies of the workfare-orientated centaur state.
    • Universal credit, lone mothers and poverty: some ethical challenges for social work with children and families

      Carey, Malcolm; University of Chester (Taylor and Francis, 2021-06-22)
      This article critically evaluates and contests the flagship benefit delivery system Universal Credit for lone mothers by focusing on some of the ethical challenges it poses, as well as some key implications it holds for social work with lone mothers and their children. Universal Credit was first introduced in the United Kingdom (UK) in 2008, and echoes conditionality-based welfare policies adopted by neoliberal governments internationally on the assumption that paid employment offers a route out of poverty for citizens. However, research evidence suggests that the risks of conditionality polices for lone parents can often include increased poverty, a deterioration in mental health or even destitution posed by paternalistic sanctions or precarious low-paid employment, which can undermine parenting capacities and children’s well-being. The article also critically appraises and questions challenges posed by an increased reliance upon contractual ethics by governments, alongside the wider behaviour modifying policies of the workfare-orientated state. This includes that working-class lone mothers can erroneously be stigmatised as representing a morally challenged dependent burden through activation policies and risk-averse social work practices.
    • Using codes of ethics for disabled children who communicate non-verbally - some challenges and implications for social workers

      Carey, Malcolm; Prynallt-Jones, Katherine A.; University of Chester (Taylor & Francis, 2018-02-09)
      This article evaluates the use of professional codes of ethics by social workers specialising in work with disabled children who communicate non-verbally. It draws upon phenomenological interviews and other studies to highlight challenges faced by practitioners in a complex role which demands high-levels of skills and knowledge. Supporting other research, codes of ethics were rarely utilised by practitioners who typically maintain a vague appreciation while often compelled to focus upon pragmatic and quick responses to a complex role. Despite this, it is argued that principle-based frameworks embedded within codes of ethics carry important political implications. These include the potential to strengthen existing utilitarian and bioethical discourses embedded in policy or dominant professional narratives, and which can at times marginalise or exclude disabled children.