Outcomes in Social Work and Its Relationship to the Quality of Social Work Practice

Jana Havliková, Olga Hubikova

OBJECTIVES: Based on expert opinions, we have discussed what may be considered as results in social work, their specifics, and how they relate to the quality of social work practice. THEORETICAL BASE: Result quality has been framed by the context of New Public Management (NPM). The starting point for discussion of the results in social work was the selected characteristics of social work (the element of unpredictability and the dual mandate). METHODS: Thematic analyses of semi-structured interviews with representatives of deliberately selected sample of organisations influencing the performance of social work in various areas was applied. OUTCOMES: Experts associate with the quality of social work primarily outcomes that have an impact on the quality of life of the clients. However, social environment intervenes into outcomes achievement, and therefore they cannot be used for external evaluation of the quality. According to experts, outputs, i.e., measurable aspects of the process of providing social work services, cannot be considered as indicators of the quality of social work; if they are, then there is a risk of decreasing quality. SOCIAL WORK IMPLICATIONS: Mechanisms of accountability developed within the NPM are not suitable for social work. It is necessary to formulate and to enforce one’s own proposals based on the values and specifics of social work.

social work practice, outcome, quality evaluation, New Public Management

p. 89-107

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