A History of the Roles and Responsibilities of Social Workers : From the Poor Laws to the Present Day book cover
1st Edition

A History of the Roles and Responsibilities of Social Workers
From the Poor Laws to the Present Day

  • Available for pre-order. Item will ship after June 15, 2020
ISBN 9780367264703
June 15, 2020 Forthcoming by Routledge
292 Pages

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Book Description

Tracing the origin of work with the ‘impotent poor’ under the Poor Laws, to social workers’ current responsibilities towards vulnerable people, this book introduces the reader to the way in which the identification of particular social problems at the end of the nineteenth century led to the emergence of a wide range of separate occupational groups and voluntary workers, which were sometimes, but increasingly, referred to as social workers.

Using an extended single chronological historical narrative and analysis, which draws heavily on original archival sources and contemporary literature, it addresses the changes which took place as part of the welfare state and the identification of common roles and responsibilities by social workers, which led to the formation of the British Association of Social Workers in 1970.

By highlighting the changes and continuities in these roles and responsibilities, this book will be of interest to all academics, students, and practitioners working within social work, who wish to know more about the origins of their discipline and the current state of the profession today.

Table of Contents



Introduction: Focus and Structure

Chapter 1: History and social work

Chapter 2: Social problems in the Tudor and Early Modern periods

Chapter 3: Relieving officers and charitable societies

Chapter 4: Developing specialised roles and responsibilities, 1890-1914

Chapter 5: Expanding the roles and responsibilities of social workers, 1914-1939

Chapter 6: Social work during the Second World War and the introduction of the Welfare State

Chapter 7: Reviewing social work roles and responsibilities in the Welfare State, 1950- 1963

Chapter 8: Exploring social work roles, 1963- 1974

Chapter 9: Consolidating the responsibilities of social workers in social services departments, 1974 – 1989

Chapter 10: Managing social workers, 1989 – 1997

Chapter 11: Reviewing the roles and responsibilities of social workers



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Mike Burt is Honorary Senior Lecturer and Visiting Professor at the Faculty of Health and Social Care at the University of Chester where, until 2009, he was Acting Head of Social Work.