Descent or dissent? A future of social work education in the UK post-Brexit

Authors: Parker, J.

Start date: 16 April 2018

On the 23rd June 2016 a referendum was held on the UK membership of the European Union. This referendum had been promised by the then Prime Minister David Cameron in the Conservative Party manifesto (Conservative Party, 2015). Leaving the European Union was not something he wanted nor does it seem that he believed this was a possibility. It seems rather that this may be interpreted as a cynical means of hanging on to power as the ‘Eurosceptics’ in the Tory Party and the populist-nationalist right wing party UKIP seemed to be vying for the balance of power amongst the political right. The result, announced on Friday 24th June, rocked the nation. The UK had voted to leave the European Union.

This paper will outline some of the shock and repercussions resulting from the vote, some of the possible reasons for it and explore what this might mean for health, social care and social work before examining the implications for social work education in the UK. This has consequences for social work education in Europe and beyond and further embeds a trajectory, in English social work in particular, towards homogenisation in statutory tasks, safeguarding and social regulation.

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