Review: Stephen A. Webb Social Work in a Risk Society: Social and Political Perspectives Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007, 278 pp. (inc. index), £20.99 (pbk), ISBN 9780333963616
AbstractBrianTaylor University of Ulster, Northern Ireland A major challenge for social workers is to assess and manage risks to clients and to staff, and to incorporate this effectively into robust and accountable organizational decision-making about care that incorporates client views and reasoned professional judgment. For researchers and theorists the challenge is to build a knowledge base to underpin and guide these practice developments; for managers and supervisors the challenge is to support professionals in their ever-more demanding (some would say impossible) task of supporting reason- able risk-taking by clients, while simultaneously taking appropriate steps to protect people from serious harm. Around us, society and organizations within it are becoming more concerned to regulate `risk' and generally ever more ready to seek a scapegoat to blame whenever a tragedy reaches the media. It is in this context that Stephen Webb has written this scholarly, theoreti- cal book re ecting on the changes and challenges facing social work, particu- larly in terms of its relationship with British society. He attempts to make sense of the social and political changes affecting social work in the developing `risk society' in which we work, including the place of social welfare within `neo- liberal'