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Title: Exploring the role of social work in supporting or limiting the rights of citizens subject to adult protection legislation
Author: Mackay, Kathryn J.
ISNI:       0000 0004 8510 6129
Awarding Body: University of Stirling
Current Institution: University of Stirling
Date of Award: 2019
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Adult protection legislation incorporates mental health, mental capacity and adult safeguarding statutes. These give social workers investigation and intervention powers into the lives of adults with physical impairment, learning disabilities, mental distress or ill-health in old age. My five publications and linked narrative explored the recent expansion of adult protection legislation and what this might say about the nature of citizenship. In particular, where the boundary might lie between the private lives of citizens and governments’ responsibilities towards them. The role of social workers is to mediate this space between government and citizen. However, this role has to be situated within the wider welfare context of managerialism and rationing of services. These wider constraints also affect those who might become subject to adult protection legislation, increasing their vulnerability to harm. Yet they are also vulnerable to practitioners misusing their powers. I adopted a feminist reflexive approach and used citizenship as an overarching theoretical framework to interrogate how legislation might be reshaping the social work role; and the possible implications for the adults who might be at risk of harm. A comparative analysis of the Scottish and Westminster Governments’ mental health law reforms was undertaken. Additionally the findings of a Scottish adult safeguarding qualitative study were used to explore the perspective of social workers and people who experienced interventions. These found that law on its own does not ensure greater civil and social rights. The prescribed nature of the social work role and the wider context may either compound or ameliorate the already limited citizenship of some people who become subject to adult protection legislation. The findings also suggest that adult protection social work, at its best, might be viewed as citizenship practice: one that requires a relational approach, informed by an ethic of care and an ethic of justice.
Supervisor: Rummery, Kirstein ; Munro, Bill Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: adult protection ; adult safeguarding ; social work ; citizenship ; autonomy ; ethic of care ; ethic of justice ; capacity ; mental health law ; mental capacity law ; reflexive ; relationality ; rights ; choice ; control ; mental distress ; justice ; paternalism ; managerialism ; Social workers--Legal status, laws, etc.--Scotland ; Social service--Citizen participation--Scotland ; Mental health laws--Scotland ; Social case work--Scotland