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Safeguarding older people from abuseCritical contexts to policy and practice$
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Angie Ash

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9781447305668

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781447305668.001.0001

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Discretion and dissonance in adult protection work

Discretion and dissonance in adult protection work

(p.111) Seven Discretion and dissonance in adult protection work
Safeguarding older people from abuse

Angie Ash

Policy Press

The case study described in chapter 6shone light on the real, lived, sometimes messy and frequently contradictory world of adult safeguarding by social workers and their multi-agency partners. This chapter discusses the research findings, in particular the influences on adult safeguarding decision-making, the day-to-day constraints on professionals and the financial, cultural and organisational context to work with older people. Conceptually, the chapter uses the metaphor of a ‘cognitive mask’ to describe the contextual backcloth and its powerful, but usually invisible influence on professional responses to elder abuse. The chapter evaluates the contribution Michael Lipsky’s concept of street-level bureaucracy makes to understanding the dilemmas professionals face; in particular in light of the discretion exercised by social workers and their managers in the case study research, and the dissonance they experienced in their work.

Keywords:   street-level bureaucracy, Michael Lipsky, professional discretion, social work dissonance, cognitive mask

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