Social workers, whatever their specialism, practise with people at the margins of society. It is therefore essential that all social work students not only understand the powers and processes that lead to disadvantage and marginalisation but develop the knowledge and skills needed to bring about change and uphold social justice in all aspects of their professional practice. Split into three parts, this book considers what is meant by disadvantage and marginalisation, how this can come about and the impact this may have on lives, before unpicking the key knowledge and skills needed to practice effectively with individuals and groups. It then goes on to show what good ethical and reflective practice looks like, going step-by-step through the ins and outs of using the law and policy to bring about change before considering key ethical dilemmas in practice.

Professional knowledge and skills
Professional knowledge and skills
Achieving a social work degree

This chapter will help you to develop the following capabilities, to the appropriate level, from the Professional Capabilities Framework (PCF).


Demonstrate professionalism in terms of presentation, demeanour, reliability, honesty and respectfulness.

Critical reflection and analysis

Apply imagination, creativity and curiosity to practice.

Maintain accurate, comprehensible, succinct and timely records and reports in accordance with applicable legislation, protocols and guidelines, to support professional judgement and organisational responsibilities.

Demonstrate skills in sharing information appropriately and respectfully.

Contexts and organisations

Understand the roles and responsibilities of social workers in a range of organisations, lines of accountability and the boundaries of professional autonomy and discretion.

It will also introduce you to the following academic standards as set out in the social work subject benchmark ...

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