Social work, once the rising star of the human service delivery professions has increasingly come under attack from politicians and the media, often following child abuse tragedies and particularly after the election of Margaret Thatcher in 1979. Subsequently private sector managerialism was introduced both to control what social workers do and how, as well as to reduce public expenditure. They had to cope with increased bureaucracy and given stringent targets aimed at rationing resources, leading to deprofessionalisation with organisations', rather than users', needs now dominating.From a critical perspective, this book charts social work's development over the last 150 years, pinpointing the present neo-liberal consensus as being at the root of the profession's current crisis. Notwithstanding the difficulties involved, it calls for a progressive, radical/critical practice based on social justice and social change. The book is essential reading for social work academics, students and experienced practitioners. Equally, social policy academics and students along with those in public policy and social science more generally will find it of interest.