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Ethics in an age of austerity : social work and the evolving new public management.

Banks, S.J. (2011) 'Ethics in an age of austerity : social work and the evolving new public management.', Journal of social intervention : theory and practice., 20 (2). pp. 5-23.


This article examines the growth of interest in social work ethics in the context of neo-liberal policies and the growth of managerialism in public service professions. Taking the United Kingdom as an example, while drawing links with trends across Europe and other countries in the global North, the article traces the development of the “New Public Management” (NPM) since the 1990s. NPM is characterized as stressing the importance of measurable outputs, targets and cost effectiveness in the provision of public services. The article considers the extent to which the growth of interest in ethics in social work is part of a progressive movement to offer a critique of NPM through emphasizing professional agency and social justice. Alternatively, the growth of interest in ethics can be viewed as part of the NPM, with a focus on ethics as regulation of professional conduct. The article concludes by emphasizing the importance of reclaiming professional ethics for social work, outlining a preliminary framework for a situated ethics of social justice.

Item Type:Article
Keywords:Social work ethics, New public management, Austerity, Social justice.
Full text:PDF - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.
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Publisher statement:This article is made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Netherlands License.
Record Created:10 Jan 2012 14:50
Last Modified:12 Aug 2015 16:12

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