Youth Justice in Northern Ireland

Find attached, courtesy of Phil Scraton and Deena Haydon, Include Youth’s recently published ‘Manifesto for Youth Justice in Northern Ireland’. In the light of today’s discussions about inter-agency working it is interesting to reflect that Include Youth first saw the light of day 30 years ago as the Northern Ireland Intermediate Treatment Association. I can well remember anguished debates back then about whether the Youth Service in Wigan should cooperate with Intermediate Treatment workers. Thoughts upon the Manifesto welcomed.


Published in: on November 27, 2008 at 11:10 am  Leave a Comment  
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Neo-Liberalism, Social Work and Witch Hunts

We are pleased to draw attention to the developing existence of the Social Workers Action Network [SWAN], which¬† “is a loose network of social work practitioners, academics, students and social welfare service users united in their concern that social work activity is being undermined by managerialism and marketisation, by the stigmatisation of service users and by welfare cuts and restrictions.

We believe that good social work is a worthwhile activity that can help people address the problems and difficulties in their lives. Many of these difficulties are rooted in the inequalities and oppressions of the modern world and good social work necessarily involves confronting such structural and public causes of so many private ills.”

At this moment their energies are being taken up with fighting back against the present witch hunt of social workers in the aftermath of the ‘Baby P’ tragedy.

– see their web site at and on-line petition.

– see the Manifesto ‘Social Work and Social Justice: a manifesto for a new and engaged practice’ at

Given our continuing discussion about the impact of neo-liberalism upon youth, community and the voluntary sector the words of the Manifesto from 2004 resonate loudly.

“Instead, our work is shaped by managerialism, by the fragmentation of services, by financial restrictions and lack of resources, by increased bureaucracy and work-loads, by the domination of care-management approaches with their associated performance indicators and by the increased use of the private sector. While these trends have long been present in state social work, they now dominate the day-to-day work of front line social workers and shape the welfare services that are offered to clients. The effect has been to increase the distance between managers and front line workers on the one hand, and between workers and service users on the other. The main concern of too many social work managers today is the control of budgets rather than the welfare of service users, while worker-client relationships are increasingly characterised by control and supervision rather than care.

– see also at

‘Only a matter of time …’ – Amid the review and recriminations following the death of Baby P, an experienced social worker describes a caseload so overwhelming that tragedy is a daily possibility

– and finally at
Peter Beresford, a name fondly remembered by some of us from his writing with Suzy Croft in the early 80’s, notes “strong stirrings of radical activity and self-organisation amongst [social work] practitioners.” In this light and much talk about making alliances I would suggest that National Coalition for Independent Action, The Federation of Detached Youth Work and our Collective need to discuss making an approach to SWAN about, say, the ‘Shared Dilemmas and Contradictions of Inter-Agency Working’. What do you reckon?
Published in: on November 26, 2008 at 1:47 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Mark Barrett of the People in Common group sends notice of a public meeting on the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This call for a critical debate about the very concept of ‘human rights’ and its practical application is to be welcomed. It is echoed in an article by Conor Gearty, Director of the Centre for the Study of Human Rights in this month’s New Humanist. He proposes a fresh definition of this ‘most humanist value – As Gearty suggests it may be my Marxist past that infects my response to the issue. Put crudely I want always to ask, ” rights for whom, granted by whom?” Please circulate the information as widely as you can. It would be good to receive a report on the proceedings.

On International Human Rights Day 2008, After 60 Years..
Why Human Rights?
Public Meeting

Wednesday 10th December, 6pm
New Theatre, Building E, LSE Houghton St WC2 (nearest tube Holborn/Temple)

“Men are not capable of doing nothing, of saying nothing, of not reacting to injustice, of not protesting against oppression, of not striving for the good of society and the good life in the ways they see it” Nelson Mandela (First Court Statement, 1962)

On the 60th anniversary of the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) creating a global framework for the protection of the rights of everyone, and in this climate of multiple crises, we invite you to consider: do we really have human rights? What’s right and wrong with them? Can ‘rights’ help us respond to the challenge of reconstructing society; so that justice, mutual respect and equality prevail? And if so, what concrete actions must we now take?

Speaker/panel: AC Grayling, Asad Rehman, Andy Worthington (author of the Guantanamo Files), Michael Edwards, Hicham Yezza, Anne Gray, Teresa Hoskyns (London Social Forum) Peter Tatchell and Vivienne Westwood. Q&A with panellists, followed by discussion on where to take the UK civil rights movement.

Also: informal pre-meeting from 3pm

Room H102, Connaught House building (LSE, on Aldwych) to discuss background info, action proposals and any other issues of concern. This will include two brief presentations: (1) on the politics of prison and detention and (2) on the notion of Henri Lefebvre’s Right to the City as a means of liberation.

Event organised by CAMPACC, the London Guant√°namo Campaign, London Against Injustice, People in Common and others. Hosted by LSE Students’ Union.

For more details, email

Published in: on November 25, 2008 at 8:30 am  Leave a Comment  
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