Caring and Coping: A Guide to Social Services

By Anthony Douglas; Terry Philpot | Go to book overview

Chapter 10

The manager’s tale

Management of social services

The general shift in UK companies and organisations during the 1980s and the 1990s towards a culture of management, and a focus on raising the quality of public services, has made life easier for today’s social services managers. The power bases of the main public sector union Unison were systematically neutralised during the Thatcherite era of union-bashing, although the public sector resisted this onslaught the longest. By the early 1990s, managers were back in the driving seat, a position some had not properly occupied since the early 1980s. The balance has now tipped the other way. Standing up for staff in the late 1990s can in some authorities attract the same looks of contempt as being a manager used to do a decade ago, when management was a dirty word. Elsewhere, a more caring model of management is striving to withstand the onslaught of crude business ethics, an obsession with performance management as the cure for all evils, and trendy designer models of management imported without being customised for local use from America and Japan. The same debate about how to raise standards within education goes on within social services. ‘Making progress through praise’ has its supporters, but so does use of a competency-based approach to sack underperforming staff. A 1997 European Commission Green Paper ‘Partnership for a new organisation of work’ 1 emphasises the need for modern organisations to be based on ‘high skill, high trust and high quality’. Social services is unsure about the kind of organisation it should become.

Welfare agencies reflect business trends. Staff reduction means there are fewer managers in most departments, and those remaining have larger teams and wider responsibility. Removing tiers of management and devolution mean greater powers and decision-

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Caring and Coping: A Guide to Social Services
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Foreword ix
  • Introduction 1
  • Chapter 1 - From Charity to Social Work 6
  • Chapter 2 - On the Statute Book 21
  • Chapter 3 - The Nuts and Bolts of Care 37
  • Chapter 4 - For the Child’s Sake 57
  • Chapter 5 - Does the Community Care? 94
  • Chapter 6 - Whose Service is It, Anyway? 138
  • Chapter 7 - Home from Home? 150
  • Chapter 8 - Something Special 160
  • Chapter 9 - More Than a Piece of Paper 172
  • Chapter 10 - The Manager’s Tale 180
  • Chapter 11 - Acts of Charity 195
  • Chapter 12 - All in It Together 208
  • Chapter 13 - Across the Borders 218
  • Chapter 14 - Conclusion 231
  • Notes 236
  • Bibliography 242
  • Index 247
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