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Social work on trialThe Colwell Inquiry and the state of welfare$
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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

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Afterwards …

Afterwards …

(p.161) six Afterwards …
Social work on trial

Ian Butler

Mark Drakeford

Policy Press

If social work in the United Kingdom had been on trial during the Colwell Inquiry, the final verdict on the profession was to be delivered elsewhere and much later. This chapter looks at the immediate and medium-term consequences of the Maria Colwell Inquiry and examines the influence it had, ephemeral and lasting, on social work in particular and the welfare state more generally. It begins with the production of the Inquiry report itself, and its immediate reception in Whitehall, focusing on the struggle that went on inside government to craft a response to the recommendations made by the Inquiry team. It then turns to the micro-processes of government as it drew together a series of administrative and procedural reforms that Colwell implied and that did so much to shape the future of social work both organisationally and professionally. Finally, the chapter discusses the major legislative consequence of the Colwell case, the Children Act of 1975.

Keywords:   Maria Colwell, social work, Colwell Inquiry, welfare state, United Kingdom, reforms, Children Act

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