Social work, law, money and trust: paying for lawyers in child protection work

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4 Citations (Scopus)


This article describes the impact of funding arrangements and resource constraints on the relationships between social workers and lawyers in child protection work in England. It draws on empirical data in order to show how social services staff and lawyers talk about the financial aspects of their inter‐professional relationship, particularly the language they use to justify their own perspective and to deflect the criticisms of the others. The article shows the shortcomings of ‘purchaser–provider’ arrangements in situations where the two sides have complex and overlapping responsibilities and where resources are limited. Rather than clarifying relationships, tight contracts and service‐level agreements can exacerbate tensions and compound mistrust. There are lessons for inter‐professional working more generally and, in particular, for the UK government's current reform programme, Every Child Matters.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)283-295
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Social Welfare and Family Law
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - 2007


  • Social workers
  • lawyers
  • child protection
  • inter‐professional working
  • purchaser–provider split
  • Every Child Matters

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