AbstractThe Scientific Council for Government Policies in the Netherlands recommends in its report (2004) that the professional is assigned a more important role in social services. In this article, the author analyses which conditions regarding the quality of the professional should be fulfilled to put this recommendation into effect. First, the rather weak position and autonomy of social workers deserves to be supported and strengthened, both by the government and by professionals themselves.
Second, while the importance of a substantial job content and of knowledge development is widely acclaimed, in practice content and knowledge still have to be improved. The author states that this could be realized by creating a stronger developmental climate within organisations.
Third, of the personal characteristics of ‘top’ social workers, motivation, an orientation toward development and cooperation, involvement in clients, autonomy, the ability to critically reflect on one’s professional behaviour and being able to establish an public image in the local environment seem to be the most important characteristics to create a successful professional practice.