Keywords: Implementation, Policy Practice, Social Work, Professional Organizations.
Social practitioners that implement public policies in the front-line of services can be
considered as ultimate policy-makers (Lipsky 1980, Brodkin 2003). However, professional
documents and literature legitimate social workers’ political action beyond implementation.
On the basis of the international debate on «policy practice» (Gal and Weiss-
Gal 2013) and the comparative analysis of the activities of the social work professional
organizations in Italy and Spain between 2009 and 2015 – the worst years of recession
and austerity – the article sheds light on the forms, opportunities and problems of social
workers’ political action, as well as on the constraints coming from structural factors.
Our results show that the political action of the social work professional organizations
in Italy and Spain in times of crisis has grown and developed in different ways, largely