Comparing assistant roles in education and social care: Backgrounds, behaviours and boundaries

Kessler, Ian, Bach, Stephen and Heron, Paul (2007) Comparing assistant roles in education and social care: Backgrounds, behaviours and boundaries. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 18 (9). pp. 1648-1665.


Purpose - Evaluates the role of teaching and social work assistants in the UK public services sector.
Design/methodology/approach - Outlines how public service modernisation has resulted in the development of the assistant role (supplements the job of professionals). Focusing on teaching (TA) and social work assistants (SWA), examines the backgrounds, behaviours and boundaries associated with the assistant role. Presents the rationale for the assistant role and the part if plays in New Labour's project to 'modernize' the public services; drawing on the relevant studies, identifies a number of key questions; describes case studies involved eight local authorities; refers to the interviews with assistants, professionals and managers.

Findings - Puts forward how the assistant is regarded as a 'co-producer' and as a 'relief' for the professional, highlights how both TAs and SWAs provide a considerable degree of support to professionals. Identifies the significantly different ways in which the assistant role has been used; highlights how the SWA is more likely to take the form of an apprentice than the TA; proposes an analytical model for examining the assistant role between sub-sectors.

Research limitations/implications - None stated.

Originality/value - Explores how assistants relate to the process of public service 'modernization'.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Assistants; Public services; Education; Social care
Subject(s): Organisational behaviour
Centre: Faculty of Organisational Behaviour
Date Deposited: 11 Feb 2012 17:53
Last Modified: 23 Oct 2015 14:06

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