Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Rethinking the welfare/policing dichotomy: Reflections from England

Devine, Lauren; Parker, Stephen



In England, the State’s role in child protection social work practice is paternalistic and rights focussed. A neo-liberal ideology is evident via policies promoting ‘innovation’. The UK government devolves powers enabling each local authority to use private, profit making providers within the statutory framework. The providers deliver ‘interventions’. This developed from the early intervention agenda and is intended to reduce cases travelling through the system. Longitudinal data shows that this approach has failed to provide the expected panacea: delivery of early intervention and innovation in the neo-liberal market relies on a steady stream of service users. Service users are increasingly detected via mechanistic systems reliant on profit making Artificial Intelligence ‘solutions’, creating conflict between social work as an individualised support service, and the powerful agendas of state control and unregulated profit making. We argue the resultant ‘welfare/policing dichotomy’ creates ‘clients’ for ‘products’ but does little to address serious child protection issues. England now finds itself with a consistent trend of increased cost and reducing efficiency. We suggest an ideological rethink.

Presentation Conference Type Conference Paper (unpublished)
Start Date Dec 6, 2017
Publication Date Dec 8, 2017
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
APA6 Citation Devine, L., & Parker, S. (2017, December). Rethinking the welfare/policing dichotomy: Reflections from England. Paper presented at Respect Existence or Expect Resistance
Keywords rethinking child protection strategy, welfare policing dichotomy, reflections from England
Additional Information Title of Conference or Conference Proceedings : Sociological Association of Aotearoa, New Zealand (SAANZ) Conference 2017: Respect Existence or Expect Resistance


You might also like

Downloadable Citations