We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. By continuing to browse this repository, you give consent for essential cookies to be used. You can read more about our Privacy and Cookie Policy.

Durham Research Online
You are in:

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:(VoR) Version of Record
Available under License - Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.
Download PDF
Publisher Web site:
Publisher statement:This article is made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Netherlands License.
Date accepted:No date available
Date deposited:11 January 2012
Date of first online publication:March 2011
Date first made open access:No date available

Save or Share this output

Look up in GoogleScholar