Professional Discretion in Welfare Services
Beyond Street-Level Bureaucracy
Discretion has re-emerged as an issue of central importance for welfare professionals over the last two decades in the face of an intensification of management culture across the public sector. This book presents an innovative framework for the analysis of discretion, offering three accounts of the managerial role - the domination model, the street level model and the author's alternative discursive perspective. These different regimes of discretion are examined through a case study within a social services department, comparing and contrasting social work discretion in an Older Persons Team and a Mental Health Team. This innovative, theoretical and empirical analysis will be of great interest to postgraduate students and researchers in social work and related disciplines including social policy, public administration and organizational studies, as well as professionals in social work, health and education.
Tony Evans (CQSW, PQSW, BA, MA, MSc, PhD) Royal Holloway, University of London, UK. He has previously taught at the University of York, Oxford Brookes University, and the University of Southampton. Before going into academic life, he practised as a social worker in mental health and community care and subsequently in forensic social work in the health service.
'This is both an extremely important and timely book. Our understanding of discretion is absolutely necessary to our understanding of professional practice in contemporary times. Every researcher who genuinely wants to appreciate the complexities of professional practice needs to read this book. It is written with the author's characteristic combination of clarity and sophistication. I recommend it wholeheartedly.' Jan Fook, South West London Academic Network (Royal Holloway University of London, St Georges University of London and Kingston University), UK 'Tony Evans provides a convincing analysis of the key central issues in contemporary policy and practice that swirl around the place and function of professional discretion in welfare services. His critically engaged discussion draws out the complexities that have emerged from the intermingling of managerialism and professional culture. This original, perceptive and stimulating contribution deserves to be widely read.' John Harris, University of Warwick, UK 'The author provides and in-depth and comprehensive review of research on differing current perspectives of professional social work discretion in social services... This book makes a valuable contribution to the development of knowledge about social service organizations with regard to the role and nature of management and its impact on staff conduct and consumer services. The findings of this study have widespread implications for social service organizations around the world... this book forces the reader to think strategically about the nature and context of effective management in social services.' International Journal of Social Welfare 'Professional Discretion in Welfare Services is highly recommendable to anyone who is interested in this complex area of social services organisations... The book can be used in universities as a textbook or as a research resource, but it also provides good reading for managers and practitioners to get a grip over the