Social Work Writing and Bureaucracy

Why has writing reports, plans, case notes and assessments come to dominate everyday social work, often at the price of real social work practice?

Authors: Michael Balkow and Theresa Lillis

Social work is the art of supporting human development and problem-solving through positive relationships. Yet so much of the time of social workers is spent writing reports.

This fascinating paper explores the importance and limitations of writing in social work. The authors reflect on the factors that lead to defensive report writing and which can often obstruct people from doing real social work. They offer practical suggestions on how the burden on social workers can be reduced, but also propose that the art of writing - writing well - is given more attention and more support.

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The publisher is the Centre for Welfare Reform.

Social Work Writing and Bureaucracy © Michael Balkow and Theresa Lillis 2019.

All Rights Reserved. No part of this paper may be reproduced in any form without permission from the publisher except for the quotation of brief passages in reviews.


Paper | 07.12.19

local government, social care, England, Paper

Michael Balkow


Children's Social Worker

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