In the 1980s, although most social workers organised their time and described their work in terms of cases, research studies had cast serious doubts on the efficacy of working in this way. As a result, there had been growing anxiety about what social workers do, what they ought to do, and the training they needed.

Task-centred casework was an approach to social work which proposed a solution to some aspects of this dilemma. Growing out of the surprising results of an American research study, it broke free from the traditional psycho-analytic approach to casework. It aimed at clarity of purpose, a concentration on the clients’ perceptions of the problems, openness about clients’ and helpers’ intentions and agreement about what is to be done and achieved within a specified time.

Originally published in 1985, this book brings together three British studies that accompanied, and in some respects pioneered, the introduction of task-centred casework into the United Kingdom. The studies describe and evaluate task-centred casework with social services department clients, with young people on probation, and with men and women referred to hospital after poisoning themselves. The research suggests what task-centred casework can and cannot achieve, describes how clients experience it and seeks to define the skills it requires. The studies also provide some reasons why many previous studies of social work have failed to find evidence for social work effectiveness.

The book uses much case material to illustrate methods of task-centred casework and its outcomes as seen by clients, social workers, and an independent outsider. It should still be of interest to social workers, teachers of social work, and social work students. More generally, it will be welcomed by all those who are interested in building social work on a surer basis than anecdote and fashion.

chapter |10 pages


part Part I|76 pages

Task-Centred Casework in two Intake Teams

chapter Chapter 1|5 pages

Introduction to Part One

chapter Chapter 2|13 pages

Clients and Outcomes

chapter Chapter 3|30 pages

Process and Outcome

chapter Chapter 4|13 pages

What Determines Outcome?

chapter Chapter 5|10 pages

Summary of Part One

Implications and Conclusion

part Part II|80 pages

Task-Centred Casework in a Probation Setting

chapter Chapter 6|3 pages

Evaluating the Effectiveness of Probation

chapter Chapter 7|3 pages

Setting and Aims of the Project

chapter Chapter 8|10 pages

Sample and Flow of Referrals

chapter Chapter 10|8 pages

Task-Centred Casework in a Probation Setting

chapter Chapter 11|4 pages

Problems and Tasks

chapter Chapter 12|7 pages

Outstanding Features of Task-Centred Intervention

chapter Chapter 13|9 pages

Task Achievement and Problem Outcome

chapter Chapter 14|15 pages

Factors Associated with Successful Outcome

chapter Chapter 15|5 pages

Summary of Part Two

chapter Chapter 16|6 pages

Conclusions of Part Two

part Part III|81 pages

Task-Centred Social Work After Parasuicide

chapter Chapter 17|7 pages


Trends and Characteristics

chapter Chapter 18|6 pages

Social Work Methods and Parasuicide

chapter Chapter 19|16 pages

The Experiment

chapter Chapter 20|14 pages

The Results of the Trial

chapter Chapter 21|9 pages

Task-Centred Work with Clients Who Repeated Overdose

chapter Chapter 22|18 pages

Making Contracts in Task-Centred Work

chapter Chapter 23|6 pages

Implications of the Research

chapter |11 pages