The corporate and neo-liberal governance of Irish social work, and a strangle-hold of legal-rational reasoning on the profession, has led statutory social work to be increasingly alienated from its traditional commitment to radical change in the pursuit of true social justice. Whilst this case has already been made, we set out to extend debates around an ‘epistemic schism’ in social work through a sociological critique of creativity. The demise of creativity arguably lies in the fettering of social work by corporate state entities, increasingly prescriptive governmental law and policy and a degree of deliberate deformation of social work through the health and social care regulator CORU. We argue that as the artistry of creative practice increasingly now comes under assault through proceduralisation, corporate governance and risk aversion, any remaining residuals of creativity also come to be repackaged and misappropriated in the form of ‘professional discretion’. What is at stake in the death of creativity is the death of anything surplus and exceptional to that which social workers are mandated to do. Moreover, we propose that without creativity, social workers can no longer fulfil the profession’s ideological goal of dismantling social injustice at a wider societal level.