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Abstract

This paper examines the Standards of Proficiency for Social Care Workers (Social Care Workers Registration Board (SCWRB), 2017b) in light of the scholarship of care. It does so by setting out some key strands of care scholarship and their significance for social care, followed by a critical assessment of care and its relational and emotional dimensions in the Standards of Proficiency (SoP) (SCWRB, 2017b). Given the centrality of care in the title Social Care Worker and the prevalence of the term in legislation and policy, the word is often ill-defined or not defined at all. Discussion of care within social care literature is remarkable by its absence. This is unfortunate for both service users and the emerging profession. This paper argues that placing care more centrally to social care can provide a key counterweight to the increasing processes of managerialisation ascendant in the social professions. An examination of care in the SoP with reference to two core dimensions - professional relationships and emotional labour - highlight some of the complexities and contradictions of care. The paper concludes that a technical rational understanding of care prevails within the SoP, while its relational and emotional dimensions of practice are underdeveloped or absent. It proposes that care scholarship provides a fertile opportunity to augment these threshold standards with a more critical and relationally informed understanding of care in teaching, practice and research.

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