The role of the Board of Social Responsibility in the development and implementation of social work policy in Scotland
This thesis focuses on the role of the Church of Scotland's Board of Social Responsibility in the development and implementation of social work policy in Scotland. The thesis deploys a case study methodology and interpretive research methods to generate understanding of the Board of Social Responsibility and its intended purpose as a service-providing voluntary organisation. Links between the Board of Social Responsibility and significant social work policy developments are identified to determine the changing influence of both local authorities and central government upon the scope of voluntary social work service provision. The thesis identifies a process of incremental social work policy development in Scotland that has operated to encourage the contribution of service-providing voluntary organisations. The Board of Social Responsibility is identified as having operated as Scotland's largest voluntary provider of social work services throughout the period under review and to have implemented a changing pattern of social work service provision: first shifting from an innovative to a traditional model of participation, returning to an innovative model, and then, finally, shifting towards a developmental model of participation. The source of this changing pattern of participation is identified as individual agency allied. to interpretations of the organisation's faith-based ethos. The significant role of the Board of Social Responsibility in the development and implementation of social work policy in Scotland is established as that of provider of a range of replicative, alternative social work services. This role is related to Scotland's wider voluntary sector to establish that views of social work policy development existing within the Board of Social Responsibility are not indicative of views existing within other voluntary organisations. The Board of Social Responsibility's particular pattern of participation is also recognised to be distinctive. Ultimately the thesis finds that the approving model of governance adopted by the Board of Social Responsibility's higher-order collectives means the Church of Scotland has not exerted a significant influence upon the policy environment that has grown to control and regulate the social work undertaken by service-providing voluntary organisations operating in Scotland between 1948 and 2000.