Professionalism, de-professionalisation and austerity: Read free until 15th November! 

Public services in the UK are being undermined by austerity, marketisation and welfare reform. This special issue of Social Work & Social Sciences Review shows how successive neo-liberal governments have used de-professionalisation in social work and health as a weapon to advance free market ideologies at the expense of public services.

 We examine how different professions in health, social care and education have developed their identity, and then analyse the process of de-professionalisation within an employment culture  increasingly dominated by the values and assumptions of capitalism, globalisation and inequality.

In contrast a counter-narrative is offered for articulating an anti-austerity position, with the aim of contextualising discussions of the future development of professionalism.

Case studies look at:

  • the Children and Social Work Act 2017 and the successful Together for Children campaign against proposals to exempt local authorities from key existing statutory duties.
  • the strike by NHS junior doctors during 2016. Much media coverage of the strike was negative, portraying it not as ‘principled’ action, but as ‘politically motivated’, This tarnished the image of ‘doctors as professionals’, resulting in a potential loss of public trust.

Free access to the special issue is available until 15th November. Visit: 

This is the first Special Issue of Social Work & Social Sciences Review produced in partnership with the Making Research Count (MRC) Network.  The network comprises the social work or care departments of 10 Universities working in partnership with some 60 local authority children’s and adults’ services, NHS bodies, and independent sector organisations.

 Whiting & Birch Ltd