Social Work

Our Social Work publishing features books and journals that help to address issues arising from poverty, inequality and social injustice.

The list includes monographs, textbooks and practitioner guides, series, including Research in Social Work co-published with the European Social Work Research Association, and the Critical and Radical Social Work and European Social Work Research journals.

Policy Press is the leading UK book publisher for books on child abuse, child sexual exploitation, child protection and children’s social work.

Social Work

You are looking at 1 - 10 of 4,282 items

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.

Full Access

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.

Open access

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.

Restricted access
Author:

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.

Restricted access

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.

Restricted access

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.

Full Access

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.

Full Access

This article examines the challenges encountered during a collaborative project involving research and practice in a Norwegian municipality. The objective of the project was to apply co-creation by involving users, employees and researchers in the development of coordinated, flexible and knowledge-based services, with a strong emphasis on user-centeredness. However, the project faced several obstacles that hindered its progress. In this article, we adopt a ‘what if’ perspective to explore alternative scenarios, identifying pivotal moments in the project and envisioning how alternative realities could have facilitated some of the fulfilment of its initial intentions. We argue that co-creation represents a mindset shift within the public sector, emphasising relational practices and embracing the inherent uncertainty associated with welfare service provision. By engaging in second-level inquiry, we propose that organisations can develop a co-creative logic that prioritises flexibility, innovation, involvement and ongoing evaluation, moving away from traditional reliance on routines, manuals and measurable outputs.

Restricted access

Measuring quality in communication is imperative for social work education, practice and research, but what does it take? This article describes the challenges faced by social workers in developing a set of scales and a coding framework for measuring quality in statutory social work communication between social workers and vulnerable young people. By sharing and reflecting on our experiences, we hope to offer other colleagues support in performing a similarly challenging task. A large body of filmed meetings from six different municipalities formed the basis for developing and testing the scales. All meetings between participants in the research process were taped, analysed and combined with field notes and coding results to identify the different challenges. The research process underlined not only that quality in statutory social work communication is a complex and context-dependent phenomenon but also that the process of quantifying and coding can generate new insights into the phenomenon. The analysis identifies that the quantitative translation of statutory social work communication created four different key challenges: ‘Struggling with context’; ‘When theory does not match reality’; ‘Unforgivable mistakes’; and ‘The relativistic no man’s land’.

Full Access