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In 2019, the removal of ‘human rights’ from Ireland’s CORU Code of Professional Conduct and Ethics ignited much opposition and campaigns for reinstatement. This short article responds to Whelan and Flynn’s assertion that alternatives to human rights should be sought, characterising the oppositional response and campaigns as lacking in sophistication. It is argued that human rights have much potential for critical and radical social work and must therefore be defended.

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The social work profession defines itself as one that promotes social change and the liberation of people. In social work practice, there is often a controversy between solving problems and engaging social issues within political, economic and historical realities. The aim of this article is to determine the current landscape of radical social work within the South African context. Findings indicate that radical efforts and responses towards decolonial social work focus on locating social work in social movements, responding to the status quo and confronting neoliberal policies. A radical stance on various issues of gross human rights violations in current affairs must be considered as a critical component of reimagining social work identity in South Africa.

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This article shares the reflections of members of a collaborative practitioner–academic research team in social work. The team investigated the career progression experiences of black social workers working in statutory social work services in South-East London. Our intention in this article is to share our experience of researching a subject that holds emotional and political resonance. We do so by offering individual perspectives from different team members on how their project involvement affected them both personally and professionally. We also discuss some of the general themes identified in our reflections. These include practitioners growing in research confidence, the need to create a safe emotional space for stories of researcher discomfort and uncertainty to be heard, the effects of undertaking research on professional social work identity, and curiosity about whether our research endeavours can change social work career progression policies and practices for black social work colleagues. We caution that a safe emotional container is required when researching personally and professionally sensitive, subjects such as racism and discrimination in social work. We hope that our article inspires social work practitioners to become involved in research activities.

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Within this article we highlight that social work is both a political as well as a professional practice. Despite years of technical specialisation and a policy context that has focused social work on risk management and resource allocation, there remains a deep commitment to care, compassion, and solidarity within contemporary social work practice. The article and its analysis make the case for a more politically informed social work practice, one that is based on solidarity; in opposition to a system that isolates individuals and internalises complex social problems. We posit that the application of solidarity within social work delivers a practice that promotes social inclusion and is based on the provision of practical social support. It is from this perspective that we will present evidence from ethnographic research, drawn from community social work practice, to highlight the importance of social solidarity and provide an insight into different ways of working.

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The response to the immigration crisis of 2015 raised issues about how social work as a profession in the UK was responding to what was unfolding in Calais, France. This article draws on evidence from a qualitative study conducted between 2018 and 2020 that analysed the narratives of 13 front-line local authority social workers’ experiences of volunteering with a charity. It was found that social workers were motivated to volunteer with the charity due to its commitment to social work’s core values of social justice and human rights through a radical social work approach and activism on issues affecting asylum seekers and refugees. This article highlights the opportunities for an alternative social work practice and recommends ways of embedding this in social work practice and education.

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The objective of this article is to apprehend relations between social assistance policies and the working class in the Brazilian economic and social context. The compensatory nature of social assistance policies is followed by the precariousness of working conditions and the naturalization and individualization of pauperism, which mystify the connection between users and their social class. The apparent disconnection with the working class naturalizes the lack of a guarantee of the right to work and enhances subordination to capital.

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The biennial conferences on Decisions, Assessment, Risk and Evidence in Social Work have reached a new milestone. Running in Belfast since 2010, the 2024 conference will be held in Zurich, Switzerland, 20–21 June. This article describes the journey to date and provides information for those interested in attending future conferences. This short article also includes some reflective comment on the contribution of the Decisions, Assessment, Risk and Evidence in Social Work conferences to learning and to the research community.

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The Decisions, Assessment and Risk Special Interest Group of the European Social Work Research Association (DARSIG) dedicated a pre-conference event at the 2023 European Conference for Social Work Research in Milan, Italy, to the application of innovations using big data and machine-learning algorithms in social work risk assessment and decision-making processes. Here, we share some ideas from these discussions.

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This study set out to gain a better understanding of how family meetings are facilitated and experienced in an Irish rehabilitation hospital setting from the perspectives of interdisciplinary team (IDT) members, patients and their family members. This article reports the findings from IDT members’ perspectives. A critical-realist action-research approach was utilised that involved medical social workers (N = 15) and a social work academic. A quantitative, descriptive study design was adopted, which utilised a cross-sectional survey of IDT members. A total of 85 clinical staff responded to the questionnaire, of which 69 were fully completed. Four key themes emerged: pre-meeting engagement and preparation – a critical step; the impact of organisational structures; supporting participation; and mechanisms for effective family meetings. Findings indicate the importance of pre-meeting preparation, the mutuality of the relationships between participants, a standardised approach and the use of patient-centred and inclusive practices to achieve truly participatory family meetings. Family meetings involve complex processes in which mutual influence, context, preferences, values, information shared, the nature of the relationships involved and the communicative style of participants all play significant roles in both the process and decision-making outcomes. This study concluded that social workers are perhaps in a unique position to work with IDTs in clarifying the reality of the limits of choice and the involvement of the patient and family in rehabilitation hospital settings. In preparation for the role of family-meeting facilitation, the implementation of education and training programmes for IDT members is strongly recommended.

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