Professional Social Work


Jonathan Parker & Mark Doel

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    This book could not have been written without the commitment and support of the dedicated authors who have contributed chapters from their own areas of expertise. It has been a privilege for us to work with them. Our grateful thanks are also extended to Helen Fairlie and Luke Block at Sage for their expert help in smoothing the process of bringing this book to fruition. Also, we would like to acknowledge the many students we have taught over the years. It is often said, but nonetheless true, that we learn as much from our students as they do from us; it is a mutual process of exploration and growth. Those people with whom social workers practise also feature highly, having contributed greatly to our understandings of being or becoming a professional social worker, the subject of this book. And, last, but not at all least, we must thank our families who have accepted without complaint our constant ‘reading of just another chapter’, or rushing to the computer to write another paragraph or two before lunch. It is to our respective families that we dedicate this book.

    Editors and contributors


    Mark Doel is Professor Emeritus in the Centre for Health and Social Care Research at Sheffield Hallam University, England. He is a registered social worker and was in direct practice for almost 20 years. He continues to lead training workshops for practitioners, largely in the fields of practice education and group work in which he has an international reputation. He has published 17 books, the most recent being Social Work: The Basics (Routledge) which gets to the fundamentals of social work. Mark is founding co-editor of the journal, Social Policy and Social Work in Transition. He has extensive experience in eastern Europe, in particular helping to develop social work education in Georgia and he is an honorary professor at Tbilisi State University. ( Contact:

    Jonathan Parker is Professor of Social Work and Social Policy, Deputy Dean for Research and Knowledge Exchange and Director of the Centre for Social Work, Sociology & Social Policy at Bournemouth University. Jonathan has been pivotal in developing the Transforming Social Work Practice series of textbooks and is author of the bestselling book, Social Work Practice. Jonathan's research interests include gender, conflict and violence, and social work education and methods. He has recently been conducting cross-cultural research on learning and practice with colleagues in Southeast Asia. ( Contact:


    Marion Bogo is Professor at the Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work, University of Toronto. Her research interests are social work education and supervision for clinical practice. She has published over 100 journal articles and book chapters, including her most recent book, Achieving Competence in Social Work through Field Education (2010). In 2013 she was the first Canadian to be awarded the Significant Lifetime Achievement Award by the Council of Social Work Education for these contributions and for innovations in assessing professional competence in students.

    Stephen Cowden is currently course director for the MA in Social Work at Coventry University. Originally from Melbourne, Australia, Stephen has spent over half his life living in the United Kingdom. He worked as a social worker in London for over 10 years and while doing this completed his PhD in Australian Literature at the University of Kent. In 2001 he became a Senior Lecturer in Social Work at Coventry University. His teaching and research focus on social theory, critical pedagogy, philosophy and ethics in social work.

    Professor Patricia Higham is an independent consultant who undertakes work for the Quality Assurance Agency and the Health and Care Professions Council. She is a graduate of Wellesley College, USA, and completed her postgraduate social work training at the University of Sheffield, and her PhD in Social Policy at the School of Management, Cranfield University. Her professional interests include continuing professional development, quality assurance and the integration of health and social care. Patricia was formerly Head of Department and Associate Dean at Nottingham Trent University, where she is Emeritus Professor of Social Work and Social Care. She is Vice Chair of the Mansfield and Ashfield NHS Clinical Commissioning Group. She is the professional adviser to the Northern Ireland Social Care Council Post Qualifying Committee. She chairs Nottinghamshire Relate, and is a Board member of Family Care (Nottinghamshire), the Child Migrant Trust and Accent Nene Housing Society.

    Graham Ixer is Professor of Social Work and Social Policy at the University of Winchester. He has spent a life time in public service, in social work practice, academia and government policy and regulation. The past 15 years have been spent in social work regulation, where latterly he was Head of Social Work Education responsible for approving and inspecting education provision in higher education. He led the team that developed the first ever international standards for regulatory inspection, which other workforce regulators are now considering adopting. His key interest is not about more, less, right or even light-touch regulation, but effective regulation – that which works and achieves its aims. His research interests lie in the area of reflection and reflectivity.

    Dr Ray Jones is a registered social worker and Professor of Social Work at Kingston University and St George's, University of London. From 1992 to 2006 he was Director of Social Services in Wiltshire. He is a former chief executive of the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) and was Deputy Chair and then Chair of the British Association of Social Workers (BASW). He has been the independent Chair of a local safeguarding children board, and of five safeguarding children improvement boards, and is a frequent media commentator and columnist. He has recently completed a book about ‘The story of Baby P’ and its impact.

    Malcolm Payne is Emeritus Professor, Manchester Metropolitan University and holds honorary academic posts at Kingston University, London, Comenius University, Bratislava, Slovakia, and Helsinki University, Finland. He was Director of Psychosocial and Spiritual Care, St Christopher's Hospice, London. Among more than 360 publications, he is author of Modern Social Work Theory (4th edn, 2014, Palgrave Macmillan), What is Professional Social Work? (2nd edn, 2006, Policy Press), Humanistic Social Work: Core Principles in Practice (2011, Lyceum, Chicago, and Palgrave Macmillan), Citizenship Social Work with Older People (2012, Lyceum Chicago, and Policy Press), and (with Margaret Reith) Social Work in End-of-Life and Palliative Care (Lyceum, Chicago, and Policy Press).

    Gillian Ruch is a Senior Lecturer in Social Work at the Tavistock Centre, London, and at the University of Southampton. She teaches and researches in the areas of childcare social work and relationship-based and reflective practice and is committed to enhancing the well-being of children, families and practitioners. In particular she is interested in promoting reflective forums that facilitate relationship-based practice and she has recently co-edited, with colleagues D. Turney and A. Ward, Relationship-based Social Work: Getting to the Heart of Practice (2010, London, Jessica Kingsley).

    Steven M. Shardlow is Professor of Social Work at Keele University, which he joined in 2013; previously he held academic positions at the Universities of Salford (Professor) and Sheffield. He has held visiting professorial appointments, at Fudan University, Shanghai, the University of Nordland, Norway, and City University and Polytechnic University of Hong Kong – where he is currently Honorary Professor in Social Work. He is Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Social Work ( Previously he has been Chair of the Association of Teachers in Social Work Education (ATSWE) and a Member of the Board of the European Association of Schools of Social Work (EASSW). Professor Shardlow is a registered member of The College of Social Work (England) and has practised as a social worker with children and families, older people, mentally ill people and as a social work manager. His research interests include: programme evaluation; the human services workforce; professional ethics; and international and comparative social work. Professor Shardlow has published 16 books and over 70 articles and book chapters. www.keele.

    Gurnam Singh is a Principal Lecturer in Social Work at Coventry University where he has been since 1993. Prior to this he was involved in political activism and from 1983 worked as a professional social worker with Bradford Social Services. He completed his PhD at the University of Warwick in 2004 on anti-racist social work in the UK. His teaching and research interests centre on critical thinking, critical pedagogy and critical practice, specifically in relation to questions of social justice, human rights and anti-oppression. He has published widely on these and related issues. In 2009, in recognition of his contribution to Higher Education, he was awarded a National Teaching Fellowship from the UK Higher Education Academy.

    Roger Smith is Professor of Social Work at Durham University, where he is Programme Director for the Masters in Social Work. As a practitioner and academic, his primary area of interest has been youth justice; he is also interested in the subjects of power and social work, childhood and youth, participatory methods and inter-professional education.

    Neil Thompson is an independent writer, educator and adviser and a producer of multimedia learning resources ( His personal website is at:

    Sue White is Professor of Social Work (Children and Families) at the University of Birmingham. Her interests include ethnography, interactional sociology, child welfare, systems design and family-minded practice.

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