8008: The measure of a competent child care social worker?

Cooper, Barry (2000). 8008: The measure of a competent child care social worker? Journal of Social Work Practice, 14(2) pp. 113–124.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/02650530020020519


This paper reflects upon some mixed messages found in recent consultation and framework documents that have been issued as part of the debate surrounding the Government's emphasis upon education and training within its 'modernisation' agenda. It identifies the long-standing arguments about 'testing' versus 'learning' or 'contextual' paradigms and suggests that, perhaps, there is still scope to influence the future direction of social work. The author has drawn upon his research with social workers and their team managers in current post-qualification award programmes to argue for a renewed emphasis upon the inter-personal and relationship aspects of educational processes within more broadly conceived socio-cultural contexts. A focus upon reflexively defined concepts of 'engagement' and 'assessment' is used to explore constructivist arguments that locate individuals within an interplay of potential and constraints. It is argued that constructive engagements within revised conceptions of assessment can form the basis of a framework of continuing professional development that starts from and develops the unique realities of social work practice. This requires the committed involvement of more people, in the negotiation of a professional practice agenda for knowledge creation through relationships, rather than the imposition of more measures.

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