• Neoliberalism, managerialism and the reconfiguring of social work in Sweden and the United Kingdom

      Harlow, Elizabeth; Berg, Elizabeth; Barry, Jim; Chandler, John; University of Chester ; Lulea University of Technology ; University of East London ; University of East London (SAGE, 2013-07-01)
      This paper considers some of the ways in which neoliberalism, through the processes of managerialism, has impacted on the occupation of social work in Sweden and the UK. It is argued that there are similar implications in both countries, through the managerial drive for increased performance in economy, efficiency and effectiveness, but also in the development of evidence based practice. Whilst the key focus of the paper is on similarities between these two countries, differences are also noted. There is also recognition of the way in which resistance to the reconfiguration of social work is taking shape.
    • Professional development

      Harlow, Elizabeth; University of Chester (SAGE, 2012-11-30)
    • Relationship based practice past and present and its knowledge foundations in the contemporary curriculum

      Harlow, Elizabeth; University of Chester (2012-07-02)
      Published in 1957, Biestek’s text The Casework Relationship might be described as a social work classic. According to Biesteck, social science formed the foundations for practice. Whilst sociology was valued, it was psychoanalytic and humanist psychology that appeared to be of greatest significance. Biestek drew on psychological knowledge as a means of understanding others, but personal reflection was also considered to be crucial: put another way, in order to understand others, a practitioner had to understand him or herself. It was scientific knowledge, as well as a deep understanding of the self, that enabled practitioners to build purposeful relationships with clients or service users. Biestek emphasised relationship as essential to humanity: relationships were seen as the most crucial component of our existence and the main source of our happiness. In terms of social work, it was by means of the practitioner – client relationship that problems were resolved. With the cultural change of the 1960s, Biestek’s work became an edifice of another era. Whilst Howe (2008) suggests that enclaves of relationship based casework have continued over the years, of late there has been a more evident promotion of this approach (see Hennessey 2011; Munro 2011 and Ruch et al. 2010). Concerned as this conference is with the question of whether developments in social work are evolving or revolving, this theory based paper draws on evidence from the literature, and compares relationship based practice of the past with relationship based practice of the present. In acknowledging the particular contribution of psychology to this approach, the paper will include a brief reflection on the place of this discipline in the newly emerging curriculum.
    • Supporting social work managers

      Harlow, Elizabeth; University of Chester (2011-09-14)
    • When Questions are the Answers

      Harlow, Elizabeth; Daley, Maureen; Stone, Karen; University of Chester; University of Nottingham; Independent (British Association of Social Workers, 2015-10)
      Professional supervision enables social work practitioners to reflect on their performance in relation to organizational goals, but also their own developmental needs. Over recent times, front line managers have been encouraged to incorporate reflective techniques in their supervision, such as those associated with coaching. Among coaching theorists there is a consensus that 'questions are the answers'. Good quality questioning conversations, which are part of a trusting supervisory relationship, may be of benefit to social work practitioners as well as the people they aim to help.