This book has examined the application of measures to assure quality in several aspects of social work practice. It has developed the argument used by Marsden, Oakley and Pratt in the field of social development, that the pursuit of quality cannot be realised by using a packages of quality assurance materials like a cookery book with universal recipes which never vary from standard ingredients, no matter what the local setting (Marsden, Oakley and Pratt, 1994, p. 23). In the process, it has surveyed the widespread adoption of quality in the personal social services. Chapters 1 and 2 have established a conceptual basis on which to regard the application of quality assurance in social work. Chapters 3 and 4 have discussed two particular prerequisites for quality social work. Chapters 5 to 8 have critically illustrated from areas of practice four particular aspects of quality assurance. This final chapter pulls together the main conclusions emerging from the preceding chapters; it uses them as the basis for quality maximisation in social work. General pointers for practice are based on the quality maximisation approach outlined in Chapter 2. On many occasions, policies, managers and professional practitioners in the personal social services have presented obstacles to the attainment of quality, rather than facilitating it. In contrast, much of the progress actually achieved has been at the instigation of service users themselves, sometimes helped, directly or indirectly, by the mass media.
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