Knowledge, professional expertise and social work identities in challenging times: Making Research Count in 2017

James Blewett


These are uncertain and difficult times for those both delivering and those receiving social work and social care services. After nearly a decade of ‘austerity’ there has been a significant reduction in the size and scope of the welfare state (Johnstone, 2016). Furthermore there is no sign that this process abating with the sector facing a period of further uncertainty and contraction (Crewe, 2016). Against this backdrop there has been a period of Government driven ‘reform’ which has seen significant changes to the sector in both adults and children’s services. This reform process has affected many professional roles but there has been particular scrutiny, and, at times intensive, debate about the role and nature of social work in contemporary care services (Featherstone et al, 2014). This short paper considers these changes from the perspective of Making Research Count, a national university based research dissemination project that has attempted to support the development of knowledge informed practice throughout this period.

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