Social work in the UK

A case for radical co-production replacing worn out structures

Authored by: Helen Casey , Dan Vale , Maryam Zonouzi

The Routledge Handbook of Service User Involvement in Human Services Research and Education

Print publication date:  August  2020
Online publication date:  August  2020

Print ISBN: 9781138360143
eBook ISBN: 9780429433306
Adobe ISBN:


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Working in co-production is at the heart of delivering 21st-century social care. In an ever-evolving social care system, social work needs to be holistic and relational, whereby individual practitioners, working as members of the multi-disciplinary teams, “co-produce” care improvement, working and learning with service users, their families and friends and informed by the new paradigms aligned to social work theory and practice. This chapter examines what is meant by co-production. Drawing on the experiences of service users and professionals, we explore the challenges of implementing co-production, arguing that the philosophical and conceptual thinking around co-production needs to move away from “consensual” approaches underpinned by methodological individualism to more “dissensual” or radical forms of co-production underpinned by constructivist and critical paradigms.

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