Assessment in Social Work by Judith Milner, Patrick O’Byrne (auth.), Jo Campling (eds.)

By Judith Milner, Patrick O’Byrne (auth.), Jo Campling (eds.)

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Additionally, we look at the debate about 'finding the truth'. The theory thicket Social workers are introduced to, and familiar with, a wide range of theory from the sociological (see, for an introduction, Haralambos and Holborn, 1990) to the psychological (see, for an introduction, Hayes, 1984). There exists a plethora of research findings concerning specific aspects of people's lives, including psychological research findings relating to such aspects as attachment and loss (Bowlby, 1964, 1982; Rutter, 1981; Murray Parkes, 1986; Howe, 1995), stages of human development (Bee and Mitchell, 1985; Sugarman, 1986), personality development theories (Schaffer, 1990), the hierarchy of human needs (Maslow, 1954), intellectual development (Piaget, 1977) and moral development (Koh1berg, 1968).

64) 24 Assessment in Social Work Assessing for a purpose While no one would wish to deny the principles set out in the new legislation - indeed, it could be said that social workers have claimed a monopoly on caring values for far too long - it needs to be recognised that these principles are difficult to actualise in the absence of an overarching assessment framework. They take differing levels of precedence according to the purpose of the assessment. Sinclair et at. (1995) find this helpful in childcare work: assessment is a term which can only have meaning when it is defined in terms of the purpose, the context and the manner in which it is undertaken.

Also, as, in practice, the assessment holds the dual purpose of increasing service users' options and limiting the demands made on the service - what Payne (1991, p. 85) refers to as 'professional respectability to cost containment' - users will find it difficult to express their levels of (dis)satisfaction. The most frequently consulted service users - user groups - do appear dissatisfied with the consultation process. Barker (1994) reports that they are becoming increasingly overloaded and cynical, asking agencies to: stop asking us what we want, tell us what you think you can afford and involve us in shaping real plans to improve services.

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