Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Social work on trialThe Colwell Inquiry and the state of welfare$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Ian Butler

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9781847428684

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781847428684.001.0001

Show Summary Details

Social work on trial

Social work on trial

(p.129) five Social work on trial
Social work on trial

Ian Butler

Mark Drakeford

Policy Press

This chapter examines how the practice of social work was judged during the Colwell Inquiry and focuses particularly on the tensions that existed between competing understandings of its nature and purpose. First, it establishes the local context for the reorganisation of services that had followed from the implementation of the Local Authority Social Services Act of 1970. The two social workers most directly concerned with Maria Colwell's care were Daphne Josephine Kirby of the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children and Diana Lees of East Sussex Social Services Department. The charges laid against the social workers involved in the Colwell case fall into four broad categories: simple incompetence in carrying out their duties properly; the flawed nature of some of their fundamental assumptions about children and families; failures in the exercise of professional judgement; and a lack of awareness of the proper boundaries of social work. Taken together, these charges also constituted a powerful critique of social work itself.

Keywords:   Maria Colwell, social work, Colwell Inquiry, Local Authority Social Services Act, social workers, Daphne Josephine Kirby, Diana Lees, East Sussex Social Services Department, incompetence, professional judgement

Policy Press Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.