The Critical Practitioner in Social Work and Health Care


Edited by: Sandy Fraser & Sarah Matthews

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  • Critical Social Work Practice

    This Reader forms part of the Open University course Critical Social Work Practice (K315) which is a 60-point, third-level practice course in the Degree for Social Work in England and Scotland and in Critical Social Work Practice (KZW315) in Wales.

    Details of these and other Open University courses can be obtained from the Student Registration and Enquiry Service, The Open University, PO Box 197, Milton Keynes MK7 6BJ, United Kingdom: tel. +44 (0)845 300 6090, e-mail //

    Alternatively, you may visit the Open University website at where you can learn more about the wide range of courses and packs offered at all levels by The Open University.


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    Sandy Fraser

    Sandy Fraser is a Lecturer in Social Work, Faculty of Health and Social Care at the Open University. He is the lead academic involved in the production of K315 Critical Social Work Practice, the course with which this book is associated. Sandy previously worked as a children and families social worker in South Wales and Devon.

    Sarah Matthews

    Sarah Matthews is a Staff Tutor in the Open University regional office in Manchester. Sarah worked as a social worker in the mental health field for over 20 years, latterly as a senior manager for Liverpool City Council. She is currently a mental health commissioner for the Department of Health and provides independent training and consultancy services to agencies in the public and private sectors concerning services to adults.


    Claire Ballinger

    Claire Ballinger is a Reader in Occupational Therapy in the Faculty of Health and Social Care at London South Bank University. Her research interests include evidence-based practice, falls and falling and older people's perspectives of chronic illness and health care. She has recently co-edited a textbook on qualitative research methods for allied health professionals with Linda Finlay.

    Sheila Barrett

    Sheila Barrett is a Senior Lecturer in Organisational Behaviour at the Business School at Greenwich University. She has worked as a practitioner, an academic, an organisation development consultant and executive coach in health, social care and education. She is an Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society and her research interests include leadership and happiness in the workplace.

    James Blewett

    James Blewett is a registered social worker who has worked in a variety of child-care settings. He currently teaches and researches in social work and is the research director of Making Research Count, a national research dissemination project, which in London is based at the Social Care Workforce Research Unit, King's College London. James also lectures on social work post-qualifying programmes at Royal Holloway, University of London and at the Open University.

    Hilary Brown

    Professor Hilary Brown is based in the Practice Consultancy Unit of the Centre for Social and Psychological Development, Canterbury Christ Church University. She works primarily in the field of disability rights, with an emphasis on safeguards and protection from abuse, in collaboration with a number of agencies including the Council of Europe. Her recent work has included projects on financial abuse, palliative care for people with learning disabilities and various aspects of the new Mental Capacity Act. She also chairs reviews and enquiries.

    Mike Burt

    Mike Burt worked in residential care before qualifying as a social worker in 1988. He has subsequently worked as a social worker in children's services. Mike became Deputy Head of Social Work at the University of Chester in 2003, having been the programme leader for the Diploma in Social Work at Warrington Collegiate Institute since 2000. He is particularly interested in the role of social work in society and in the history of social work.

    Barry Cooper

    Dr Barry Cooper is a Lecturer in Social Work at the Open University. He has previously worked as a child care and mental health social worker and as a social services training officer for practice teaching and post-qualification award programmes in Bristol. His Doctoral research studies at Bristol University focused upon constructivist assessment perspectives within social work practice and education and he has published a number of journal articles exploring these themes.

    Celia Davies

    Celia Davies is currently Director of the Research for Patient Benefit Programme in the National Institute for Health Research and is a Visiting Professor at the London School of Economics. Her most recent book (with M. Wetherell and E. Barnett) is Citizens at the Centre: deliberative participation in healthcare decisions, Policy Press, 2006.

    Maureen Eby

    Maureen Eby is a Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Health and Social Care at the Open University. She is a nurse who works in both clinical practice and education. Her writing is born out of her research into whistle-blowing, accountability and her eighteen years as an expert witness within nursing clinical negligence cases. Currently she heads the post-registration initiatives of the Faculty's Nursing Programme.

    Keith Edwards

    Keith Edwards has a degree and a Masters in sociology and an MBA. He worked as a social worker for Lewisham and Barnardo's, and then taught on a CSS (Certificate of Social Service) course. In 1991, he became a development officer and trainer for Powys County Council. He moved to Warwickshire County Council in 2002, and is now Assistant Head of Service for Planning and Performance in the Children, Young People and Families Directorate.

    Linda Finlay

    Linda Finlay is a freelance academic consultant offering training and mentorship on how to apply qualitative research in health care. She also teaches and writes for the Open University in the Social Science and Health and Social Welfare faculties. Qualifying originally as an occupational therapist, she obtained a psychology degree and PhD. She has published widely, being best known for her textbooks on psychosocial occupational therapy, groupwork and qualitative research.

    Ann Gallagher

    Ann Gallagher is Senior Research Fellow in the Faculty of Health and Social Care Sciences at Kingston University and St George's University of London. She has a longstanding interest in, and concern with the promotion of, professional ethics. She has engaged in empirical work relating to dignity in health care, the arts in health and conflicts of interests in safeguarding children. Her theoretical work relates to virtue ethics, dignity, human rights, the teaching of professional ethics and transcultural ethics.

    Ann Glaister

    Ann Brechin, now Glaister, is retired but was formerly Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Health and Social Care at the Open University, contributing to courses on disability, learning disability and health and social care.

    Colin Guest

    Colin Guest is a freelance consultant working in the education, social and health care fields. A former teacher, he has worked in the private, public and voluntary sectors as both practitioner and manager. He is on record as commenting that he feels fortunate to have worked as a manager through two decades of constant change. For a while he directed a private sector training company supporting social and health care organisations. His interests include training, change management and improving communications.

    Chris Hallett

    Chris Hallett is Head of Service for Children in Need with Warwickshire County Council. He is a registered social worker and also holds an MSc in Public Sector Management. He is an Associate Fellow at Warwick University. Previous publications include chapters on developing good practice in community care and children's services.

    Celia Keeping

    Celia Keeping MA, CQSW, works part-time as a social worker in a community mental health team where she worked as an Approved Social Worker for ten years. Her specialist practice area is now psychodynamic psychotherapy. Celia is also a Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Health and Social Care at the University of the West of England, where she has a special interest in the effect of emotions on organisational life and social work practice.

    Alun Morgan

    Alun Morgan is a Lecturer in the Faculty of Health and Social Care in the Open University. His practice experience has been in child care and mental health social work, including senior local authority child care management. His research interest is in service-user participation through information technology and multi-media.

    Barbara Prynn

    Barbara Prynn qualified as a psychiatric social worker. Latterly she has worked in the field of adoption, particularly with adopted adults and their birth families. In her PhD she considered the characteristics of adopting families which might lead to positive or negative outcome. Her other research has been into the professional histories of former child care officers, and the later lives of people born between the World Wars who were adopted or fostered.

    Phil Sawbridge

    Phil Sawbridge is an Assistant Head of Service with Warwickshire County Council and holds responsibilities for Safeguarding Children, Quality Assurance and Service Development within the Children in Need Division. He is a registered social worker and holds an MSc in Child Protection Studies and an MBA.

    Philip Scarff

    Philip Scarff is a former Director of a large NHS health authority and has held senior management posts in Social Services. For the past fourteen years he has been an independent consultant specialising in the public and voluntary sectors, mainly in health and social care and related fields. He has broad experience of multi-agency working and strategic and business planning. His publications include training courses in financial management and tendering and contracting for public bodies.

    Janet Seden

    Janet Seden is a Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Health and Social Care at the Open University. She has worked in probation and children and families social work. She has taught counselling in adult education and social work since 1990. Janet is the author of Counselling Skills in Social Work Practice (Open University Press, 2005) and has published on the assessment and provision of services for children in need and their families; social work theory, practice and processes; children and spirituality; practice teaching; and managing care.

    Aidan Worsley

    Professor Aidan Worsley is the Head of Social Work at the University of Chester. His research interests include practice education, community involvement in social work education and the nature of social work research. He has long been a keen supporter of practice teaching, and acted as chair of the National Organisation for Practice Teaching from 2001 to 2004. He qualified as a social worker in 1987 and his professional career was primarily with the Probation Service. After ten years as a probation officer and senior probation officer he joined a Social Services Department Staff Development Team. From there he moved into higher education, managing a Practice Teaching Award programme, before taking on a Head of Social Work role. He has been Professor of Social Work at Chester since January 2006.


    Every effort has been made to trace all the copyright holders, but if any have been inadvertently overlooked the publishers will be pleased to make the necessary arrangement at the first opportunity.

    Grateful acknowledgement is made to the following sources for permission to reproduce material in this book.

    Chapter 1

    Figure 1.1: Adapted from Barnett et al. (1997) Higher Education. Open University Press, p. 105. Reproduced with the kind permission of the Open University Press.

    Figure 1.2: from Dutt and Ferns (1998) Letting through the Light: A Training Pack on Black People and Mental Health. Race Equality Foundation and Department of Health, p. 29. Reproduced with the kind permission of the Race Equality Foundation.

    Chapter 12

    Figure 12.2: Colebatch (1998) Policy. Open University Press, p. 38. Reproduced with the kind permission of the Open University Press.

    Figure 12.3: Winstanley et al. (1995) ‘When the pieces don't fit a stakeholder power matrix to analyse public sector restructuring’, Public Money and Management, 15 (2): 21. Blackwell Publishers. Reproduced with the kind permission of Wiley-Blackwell.

    List of Abbreviations

    AIAppreciative Inquiry
    AMHPApproved Mental Health Professional
    ASWAssociation of Social Workers
    BASWBritish Association of Social Workers
    CAMHSChild and Adolescent Mental Health Services
    CBETCompetency-Based Education and Training
    CCETSWCentral Council for Education and Training in Social Work
    CCTCompetitive Compulsory Tendering
    CCWCare Council for Wales
    CIPWCreating an Inter-Professional Workforce
    CPDContinuing Professional Development
    CPSCrown Prosecution Service
    CQSWCertificate of Qualification in Social Work
    CRBCriminal Records Bureau
    CSCICommission for Social Care Inspection
    CSSCertificate of Social Service
    ECHREuropean Convention on Human Rights
    GSCCGeneral Social Care Council
    HEIHigher Education Institution
    HRAHuman Rights Act
    IMCAIndependent Mental Capacity Advocate
    MSWMedical Social Worker
    NCVQNational Council for Vocational Qualification
    NHSPNewborn Hearing Screening Programme
    NICENational Institute for Clinical Excellence
    NISCCNorthern Ireland Social Care Council
    NMCNursing and Midwifery Council
    NOSNational Occupational Standards
    OFSTEDOffice for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills
    PIPEPromoting Inter-Professional Education
    PREPPost-Registration Education and Practice
    PRTLPost-Registration Training and Learning
    PSWPsychiatric Social Worker
    RCTRandomised-Control Trial
    SCIESocial Care Institute for Excellence
    SIASpinal Injuries Association
    SSCCScottish Social Care Council
    SSSCScottish Social Services Council
    TOPSSTraining Organisation for the Personal Social Services
    UDHRUniversal Declaration of Human Rights
    VFMValue for Money

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