ABSTRACT

Over the past fifty years the title of those with organizational oversight of youth work has mutated from ‘organizer’ and ‘advisor’ to ‘officer’ and ‘manager’. This, however, has represented much more than a change of name. When the state ‘service of youth’ was created in 1939 the role’s main priorities were support and advice for field practitioners operating with considerable discretion and autonomy. By the later 1990s, Blairite New Public Management (NPM) had increasingly required the role to exercise top-down direction and control of ‘delivery’ focused on tightly defined value-for-money social objectives. This chapter traces how these changes have also brought a fundamental cultural shift in how youth work practice is conceived and carried out.