Blyth, Eric (2009) The professionalization of social work in England. China Journal of Social Work, 2 (2). pp. 131-141. ISSN 1752-5098

This paper contextualizes current issues regarding the professionalization of social work in England within its historical development. Despite the early origins of social work in England (as in the rest of the United Kingdom) in the mid-nineteenth century, formal regulation and registration of social work professionals is a recent development. A key tension between social work's roles in empowering service users and as an agency of the state, that was evident from its early days, continues to impact contemporary social work practice and is reflected in government imperatives to 'modernize' social work and service users' accounts of what they value most from social workers. The paper concludes by proposing that the government's modernizing agenda for social work should not discard that which has stood the test of time, simply because it is not 'modern.'

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