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Social work in England

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    Stuart Johnson
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    When attempting to define the welfare state in a number of countries, there can be a number of implications of a description that may not often be apparent, as a result of the differences between the countries may appear to be significant as any similarities.

    There are three primary models within the welfare state; these are: the Anglo-American model- entails managing and solving problems of the poorest of the poor, it can be linked to the individualism and the individual self determination. The model is open to capitalism. Within the social work framework it enables individuals to solve their problems by utilising various therapies. It is additionally, linked to the principles of human rights.

    The middle European model- a notion of social cohesion; the model causes social integration and possibilities for human development shaped by a solidarity civil society i.e. the church, which is supported by the state. Within the social work perspective, the model conveys of a solidarity caring civil society. Additionally, it enables people to arrange self help- this will provide a location so “social integration arid human growth based on the idea of civilisation” (Littlechild & Lyons, 2003).

    The Scandinavian model- The basic principle of the Scandinavian welfare state regime is also known as the Nordic model. The model entails social security for all people provided by the state through comprehensive systems of national insurance and welfare servcies. Addtionally, it is a state capitalism/market socialsim. Within the social work context, the model helps peole to use the complex systems of benefits and servcies in relation to their rights and needs (Littlechild & Lyons, 2003). These three models are named from a geo-graphical point of view.

    Denmark is a small European state and a Scandinavian welfare state regime, which joined the Europe two decades ago. The development of social work in Denmark started in 1849. The Constitutional Act of Denmark confirmed that the state was to provide for those citizens who were unable of supporting either themselves or their families. As time went on divisions were developed and the poor were “subject to moral differentiations” (Campanini & Frost 2004, pg 45). This meant that they were either the deserving (the disabled, the ill and the elderly) or the undeserving poor (the work-shy, alcoholics etc). Charities helped the deserving poor whereas the state supported the undeserving. (Campanini & Frost 2004)

    Between 1871- 1892, the Danish legislature was accountable for the various numbers of social reforms, and the process ended in the great Social Reform Act of 1933, which moulded the foundation of the modern Danish Welfare state.

    England is of the Anglo- American welfare state regime. The early interventions in the lives of the poor in England were directed by the church or private charitable relief, which were given by wealthy people. It is said by commentators that the state interventions can be traced as far back to the 1388 Poor Law Act, because of the Elizabethan Poor Law 1601, and due to a series of Poor Law reforms during the period of the 19 century, which “moved welfare provision from the parish to the state, from a form that was essentially individualistic to one that is, in essence, collective (Fraser 2003 pg 33-60 in Campanini & Frost 2004, pg 53).

    Before the middle of the 20 century state intervention in people lives were directed by the twin principles of ‘least eligibility’ and of the ‘deserving’ and ‘undeserving’ poor, which derived from the Poor Law of 1834.

    “Benefits” were set a level below that of the least well paid worker to provide an incentive to work and disincentive to be dependent on Poor Law Relief; the poor were shifted into categories of “deserving” and “undeserving to target “benefits” and to avoid compounding the “faults of charter,”” (Campanini & Frost 2004, pg 53), this were alleged to lead to idleness, ignorance, immorality and dependence as the ‘deserving received some form of aid (Campanini & Frost 2004).

    In 1942 Beveridge made a number of recommendations, in addition, there were legislation which followed the recommendations. There was a complete revision of the welfare system, which were based on the notion of collectivism. In 1948 the Local authority personal service was replaced by the old Poor Law. Therefore, social work in the UK was developed as a philosophy of benevolence and the promotion of equality to be accomplished via the state supported by the government regulation of statutory provision and specialist professional interventions.

    During the period of the late 1970s and 1980s the welfare state was subjected to problems within the welfare provision. The radical Left and the radical Right contributed solutions to the matter. The Left stirred towards politics input, and more state involvement in the 1970s. And the Right went for reduced and efficient state involvement in regards to dynamic management and market orientated public services in the 1980s and 1990s. (Campanini & Frost 2004).

    The initial remit of consumerism, was that clients or service users are transformed as ‘consumers’ additionally service purchasers as ‘customers’. The ideology consumerisms believe that “managing the welfare state is the same as running a business” (Adams, Erath, Shardlow 2000, pg 126). This leads to a number of services that needs restructuring.

    Social workers were transformed to care managers, assessing need, and overseeing provision, this was part of the political initiative to remove the state from the provision of services (Campanini & Frost 2004).

    New labour won the election in 1997; they wear the emblem of ‘the third way’ that has led to amendments in the principles of welfare provision. The effect of the ‘third way’ is transparent in the intercession to move “…the focus away from who provides the care, and places it firmly on the quality of services” (DoH, 1998 pg8 in Campanini & Frost 2004 pg 54).

    Social work education in Denmark began in the 1930s; two social work schools were created. Alfred T. Jorgensen started the first school. The aim was for the state to engage in the demanding social work problems, so the church could focus its effort in lighter areas for instance visting the elderly and organising children activities (Campanini & Frost 2004).

    The second school, the school was created in 1937 by Carl Clemmenson who was a medical doctor, Vera Skalts a barrister and Mannon Luttichau a social helper- Denmark’s first paid social worker in 1934. The school was established for anyone who had interest in social issues. In 1941 Denmark disintegrate the Social School. In 1942 the length of the course was stretched to a period of two years. The school then became the National School of social work in Copenhagen, and from 1957 training gradually increased. (Campanini & Frost 2004). Since the 1990s the curriculum has focused on four main areas. Their method and theories include, Law, Psychology and Psychiatry, Practical Training etc. which is similar to that of England

    Currently social work education takes place over three and half years, graduates are then given the title ‘Bachelor in Social Work’. Presently, there are five schools of social work in Denmark, which have a total of 900 students every year. The schools offers part time on line studies; a master in social work; specialisation in International Social Work; additionally, three and half years educational International social work. At present, Denmark does not offer a PhD level in social work (Campanini & Frost 2004).

    Within the Britain, the emergence of social work education started within the 19th century, which is similar to Denmark. However, there were movements to identify and tackle the impact of a market based “industrialised society [which] gave rise to the Charity Organisation Society (COS) which sought to ameliorate the poverty caused by the failure of the economy to create an equitable distribution of social resources” (Campanini & Frost 2004 pg55). COS aided establishing the education and training of its staff, terminating the move to the new Department of Social Science and Administration at the London School of Economics. Previous forms of case work and administration created the focal point of the curriculum. (Campanini & Frost 2004).

    Subsequently, the Beveridge Report (1942) selected methods “of social casework, group work and community work based on an individualistic humanistic ethic and its associated values” (Campanini & Frost 2004 pg55). Education was separated between universities and education institutions- there were diploma or certificate level courses.
    Unlike Denmark, there was an ‘intellectual purge’ during which (Central Council for the Education and Training of Social Workers) CCETSW “ripped out the social science disciplines from the curriculum and removed the control of the academy over professional courses” (Jones, 1996 pg 205 in Campanini & Frost 2004 pg55-56). This was due to the consequence of Seebohm report which had a number of students with a background of social sciences- this concurred with the growth of radical social work. Subsequently CCETSW created a set of higher education courses and qualifications- diploma level as an initial point to the profession; post qualifying bachelors degrees and advanced, masters level degrees.
    Dissimilar to Denmark, from 2003, professional qualifying training for social workers in England transformed to a three year Bachelor degree in social work supported by the General Social Care Council (GSCC). This degree course are “governed in part by a Quality Assurance Agency Benchmark Statement (QAA, 2000) which includes two clauses (3.1.2 and 3.1.5) requiring consideration of comparative (European and international) perspectives in relation to service delivery and research findings” (Lyons, Karen 2006 pg 370). The diploma in social work and all other predecessor social work qualifications has and will remain to be recognised as valid social work qualifications (http://www.gscc.org.uk/Training+and+learning/Become+a+social+worker/). As simmilar to Denmark, graduates are then given the title ‘Bachelor in Social Work’
    Within Denmark there are different social work professions. These are social pedagogues- trained primarily to work with children in institutions, among those with learning difficulties, additionally, those with drugs and alcohol addiction. A number of social workers in Denmark are employed in the public sector, and most are employed by local councils. They deal with social welfare benefits and provide all social services. In regards to social work interventions, Denmark social workers display an awareness of counselling and therapeutic social work activities; additionally they focus their contribution on educational and pedagogical issues (Campanini & Frost 2004).

    On the contrary, a few of Britain interventions are care management, communication, collaboration, user involvement and partnership. British social workers place more of an emphasis on those who are more vulnerable, such as children and family- The 1989 Children Act enforces the protection of children as paramount by explaining social workers roles and responsibilities (Gibson, Grice et al 2001).

    Unlike Britain, Denmark has a number of social workers which places more of an emphasis on the elderly than Britain (Hill 1991). However, Britain is starting to have more of an awareness of the importance of the elderly.

    Within Britain social workers have a more general professional distinctiveness; working both in organisation varying from statutory to voluntary and charitable provision. Additionally, social worker can be engaged in a wide range of task in a combination of situations for a number of employers. Social workers task at times may overlap within a multi disciplinary team.

    In Denmark there is a close connection between ‘cash and care’. This connection is not “present in many other countries, such as the UK. The system is organised so that social workers assess eligibility and offer guidance services in conjunction with awarding social welfare benefits” (Campanini & Frost 2004 pg 49-50).

    Social workers in Denmark has been regulated by law and supported economically since 1941 by the state. About 95 per cent qualified social workers are organised members of the Danish Association of Social Workers (DASW) – trade union for social workers (Campanini & Frost 2004).

    However, the British Association of Social Workers represents a smaller amount of the social workforce and has no trade union function. This is because most social workers join separate trade unions (Littlechild & Lyons, 2003).

    The similarities between Denmark and Britain are that of the ethical bases which emphasise social work. According to the International Declaration of Ethical Principles of Social Workers recommends that 2.2.4, 2.2.5, and 2.2.10 of the ethical principles should underpin social work. (Littlechild & Lyons, 2003). It is important that social work remain unique to its identity and stay true to its core values.

    “Welfare state constructions are shaped by globalization processes which can no longer be steered by national polices… Globalization is based on the ideas of free market global economy… [Its] tendencies are closely connected with neo-liberal economic policy which trusts in the blessing power of the invisible hand.” (Littlechild & Lyons, 2003, pg 19)

    “Denmark changed and adapted successfully to challenges of globalization while keeping the core of its particular form of the Scandinavian welfare model” (Klaus Nielsen, Stefan Kesting, 2003 pg. 365-387). Denmark has transformed the effect of globalization into a successful strategy for survival. Nonetheless, there is insinuation that the changes of neo-liberal notions on the Danish negotiated economy can steer to political commotion that defy significant factors of the model.

    Economist speaks in broader terms about a single world market, plus a huge workforce. Goods are created wherever economic conditions are ripest for the producer, rather than the local community. Globalization commentators frequently record the high price paid by poor, Third World nations, when business leaders in the corporate ivory tower cut jobs without conscience.

    Dominelli and Hoogvelt identified that globalisation and its relationship has an impact on social work. Their views are that “globalisation is embedded within the social work enterprise, in as much as it derives its traditions from: an international exchange and movement of ideas, which are central to the formulation of the purpose and characteristics of practice; its location within state welfare systems and its organisational delivery through bureaucratic agencies” (Adams, Erath, Shardlow, 2000. pg 5). They perceive the process of globalisation has an influence on understandings of service user’s autonomy, and the procedures of assessment and management in respect of those who are vulnerable, additionally different understandings of the idea of free choice, informed choice, best interests, entitlement and preference. (Adams, Erath, Shardlow, 2000)

    All citizens have equal rights to social security. Within the Danish welfare system, various services are accessible to citizens, free of charge. For example, the Danish health and educational systems are free. “The Danish welfare model is subsidised by the state, and as a result Denmark has one of the highest taxation levels in the world”. (http://denmark.dk/portal/page?_pageid=374,520325&_dad=portal&_schema=PORTAL)
    Many Danish people perceive that there is a good balance between family and working life since there is both relatively much time available for the family and good opportunities for professional challenges at work.

    Danish employers usually respect their employee’s family life. For those with children, many workplaces adjust their working hours so that parents can pick up your child from the childcare. Additionally, most people live relatively close to their place of work and therefore spend less time on transport.
    However, within Britain, Globalisation enhance the significance for Britain of continuing to acquire a competitive advantage in industries with major growth-potential as a means of improving living standards in the long term. Globalisation has engrossed the process because of the faster diffusion of technological progress. Better investment is needed in high value goods and services, such as in high and medium-high technology manufacturing and in knowledge-intensive service sectors.

    The influence of globalisation on the British government is that of changing the corporate tax regime and improving labor markets and the welfare system. A few economists deem that globalisation decrease the ability of governments to charge business taxes “because corporations can move their production to countries offering the lowest tax base and the taxation of knowledge products transmitted across international boundaries become ever-more difficult” (http://www.tutor2u.net/economics/content/topics/trade/globalisation_ukeconomy.htm)

    An article written by Jamie Doward wrote that “globalisation, changing patterns of work, especially among women, and technological innovations, chiefly the internet, have transformed our working space and time, the report ‘[The Shape of Things to Come]’ suggests significant change in our leisure activities will drive the around-the-clock society” (Guardian limited, 2004).

    There are a number of challenges, which faces social professionals in the EU, which entails undertaking the “increasing inequalities, marginalisation and social exclusion facing minorities in all European states” (Littlechild & Lyons, 2003).

    There are common problems such as social and political language, which aids us and instigate methods in tackling these problems beyond certain societies whereby they possibly arises. By learning from each other we are able to engross in a dialogue about our practice and the values underpinning it. This illustrates that by working from umbrella all countries can tackle discrimination and oppression and that we are valuing each other perspectives as well as being united.
    It is important for cooperation between international social workers to take place, thus the professionals around the world are able to effectively face challenges which are caused by internationalisation social issues. By doing so all values are able to work as one and are enhancing effective practice.
    Within Britain, commentators have said that social workers entails a overt understanding of how discrimination and oppression show themselves in society, specifically in regards to issues around age, gender, sexuality, disability, and racism. Whereas within Denmark, social workers convey their duties to social cohesion and social solidarity- everything is in harmony.

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