Tagged / social policy

New paper by recent BU Sociology graduate

Dr. Andrew Harding and his BU PhD supervisors just published a new paper from his Ph.D. research [1].   This interesting paper ‘Suppy-side review of the UK specialist housing market and why it is failing older people’ reviews the supply-side of policies and practices that impact on the shortage of supply in the contemporary specialist housing market for older people in the UK.  Andrew is currently based at Lancaster University.

Congratulations!

Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen

CMMPH

 

Reference:

  1. Harding, Andrew, Parker, Jonathan, Hean, Sarah & Hemingway, Ann (2018) Supply-side review of the UK specialist housing market and why it is failing older people. Housing, Care and Support

 

New edited book by BU academics

As a discipline and a profession, social work builds on a wide variety of methods and techniques for its practice. The broader frameworks of social work methodology guide social workers through the process of developing and creating interventions with different service users, carers and other professionals.

This book aims to provide an overview of current debates concerning social work methods and methodologies from an international perspective. It provides and enables exchanges about the variety of approaches and reflects the knowledge base for bringing social work theory into practice in different European settings and welfare contexts. It is a timely and welcome addition to the literature at a  time when European cooperation and solidarity is much needed.

Edited by Professor Spatscheck from Germany, and Professors Ashencaen Crabtree and Parker from the UK, this book comprises chapters selected from presentations held at the 17th SocNet98 International University Week at Hochschule Bremen and includes further contributions from throughout the SocNet98 network. The work includes a chapter by the editors co-authored with past BU Sociology & Social Policy students Emilie Reeks,  Dan Marsh and Ceyda Vasif.

“SocNet98 – European Network of Universities/Schools of Social Work” provides highly successful International University Weeks for social work students and academics from across Europe to learn from and share with one another. These study weeks have enriched social work education for 20 years and continue to do so.

New paper by BU’s Lecturer in International Health

Congratulations to Dr. Pramod Regmi on the publication of his latest article ‘Local elections and community health care in Nepal’.[1]  Pramod is our newly appointed Lecturer in International Health, who started this post exactly a month ago.  The editorial, co-authored with BU Visiting Faculty Prof. Padam Simkhada (based at Liverpool John Moores University), Nirmal Aryal (based at the University of Otago, New Zealand) and CMMPH’s Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen, highlights the important link between local democracy and health in Nepal.

The paper argues that elected local governments are critical for public accountability on the operationalization of the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) at local level.  Furthermore, having elected leaders in communities after such a long gap will certainly give Nepalese people rights and hopefully improve provision and access to health care services they are entitled to. Thus the role of civil society, community-based non-governmental organisation, development partners and the mass-media is critical in both advocacy for, and the effective monitoring and implementation of, local activities.

The paper appeared today in Health Prospect an Open Access journal published in English in Nepal as part of the Nepal Journals Online (NepJOL) service .

 

Reference

  1. Regmi, P., van Teijlingen, E., Simkhada, P., Aryal, N. (2017) Local elections and community health care in Nepal, Health Prospect: Journal of Public Health, 16(2):1-2.

New Public Health paper on Christmas Eve

Douglas 2015 Men healthOur latest paper and the last one for 2015, published the day before Christmas.  The paper ‘Implementing Health Policy: Lessons from the Scottish Well Men’s Policy Initiative’ appeared in AIMS Public Health [1].  The paper draws on evaluation research led by Dr. Flora Douglas (University of Aberdeen).  This was a set of evaluations of the Well Men’s Health projects which were part of an initiative running in many health regions (or health boards as they are called in Scotland).

 

The focus of this particular paper centres around the fact that little is known about how health professionals translate government health policy into action [2]. Our paper examines that process using the  Scottish Well Men’s Services policy initiative as a ‘real world’ case study [1]. These Well Men’s Services were launched by the Scottish Government to address men’s health inequalities. Our analysis aimed to develop a deeper understanding of policy implementation as it naturally occurred.  We used an analytical framework that was developed to reflect the ‘rational planning’ principles health professionals are commonly encouraged to use for implementation purposes.

Our analysis revealed four key themes: (1) ambiguity regarding the policy problem and means of intervention; (2) behavioral framing of the policy problem and intervention; (3) uncertainty about the policy evidence base and outcomes, and; (4) a focus on intervention as outcome. This study found that mechanistic planning heuristics (as a means of supporting implementation) fails to grapple with the indeterminate nature of population health problems. A new approach to planning and implementing public health interventions is required that recognises the complex and political nature of health problems; the inevitability of imperfect and contested evidence regarding intervention, and, future associated uncertainties.

 

The paper is published in an Open Access journal, so it is easily and freely available to public health professionals, policy-makers and health workers across the globe.

Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen 

CMMPH

 

Reference:

  1. Douglas, F., van Teijlingen, E., Smith, W.C.S., Moffat, M. (2015) Implementing Health Policy: Lessons from the Scottish Well Men’s Policy Initiative, AIMS Public Health 2 (4): 887-905. http://www.aimspress.com/article/10.3934/publichealth.2015.4.887/fulltext.html
  2. Killoran, A., Kelly, M. (2004) Towards an evidence-based approach to tackling health inequalities: The English experience. Health Education Journal;63: 7-14.

Impact, outcome and research methods – HSC PhD student on LSE Impact Blog

With working at a university and the rise of the REF, you would have almost certainly come across the terms ‘impact’ and ‘outcomes’. Whilst there might be a great deal of similarity and overlap in the use of these terms, it is important to discuss the sometime subtle differences between ‘impact’ and ‘outcome’. What consequences might this have for the design of social research?

The health and social care literature uses these terms in a rather haphazard manner. The differences are rarely discussed and it can be suggested that many use the wrong terminology. In this blog post on the LSE Impact of Social Sciences Blog, relating to the field of information and advice on welfare issues, I briefly discuss and propose that there are fundamental differences between what an impact refers to and what an outcome refers to. Furthermore, I suggest that these differences are significant and profound enough to align each to opposing research methodologies.

These thoughts relate to the key areas of my PhD project with Elderly Accommodation Counsel (EAC) in London. EAC coordinates the FirstStop service which provides information and advice to older people (and other stakeholders) on housing and care issues. My research is focused on how older people use information and advice on housing and the wider impact that this has.

If anyone has an interest in this area, do get in touch!

 

ENABLE-ing Social Work Education: Sharing UK experiences and insights with our Malaysian colleagues

Debating the curriculum

As seasoned academics who have, between us, experienced numerous reviews of social work education, it was fascinating and exciting for us to learn about and discuss some of the proposed changes to qualifying social work education in Malaysia in anticipation of their forthcoming Social Work Act. We were fortunate to attend a meeting to discuss how current social welfare workers in government and non-governmental organisations might be assisted in developing knowledge and education to a qualified and pre-qualified level. The meeting, attended by an independent Australian consultant, Malaysian academics, NGOs, representatives of MASW and the Methodist College of Kuala Lumpur, expressed the laudable concern to professionalise social work rightly focusing on increasing and regulating the educational qualifications needed to practise in Malaysia.

Context is all-important when designing and developing any curriculum but more so in respect of social work programmes because of the interpersonal, social and cultural aspects of the work. However, isomorphic global trends in higher education in general and social work in particular make comparisons and sharing ideas useful, even when we acknowledge that social work as a discipline and practice differs from nation to nation across the world. We were able to offer some insights and reflections following recent UK experiences as a way of highlighting some of the pitfalls that might arise and could be best avoided. We followed this by exploring possible ways forward for academic social work including publication strategies and internationalising the curriculum and departmental outlooks for those universities offering social work. This will be continued in discussion later in March 2014.

Learning by experience & ways forward:
There are, we believe, a number of key aspects of learning that Malaysian social workers and social work academics may wish to reflect on in the exciting times ahead as the Social Work Acts get closer to endorsement and implementation in Malaysia. These are:

• The need to reflect critically on moves towards professionalization, regulation and registration; recognising and identifying exactly what these moves are intended to achieve and not accepting uncritically that they will automatically produce better social work services.
• Developing appropriate ways to ensure that numbers of social workers employed in social work posts increase and, whilst paying attention to retaining those social care workers who may not be able to qualify at the desired level and protecting their career interests, not diluting the core principles underpinning reform.
• Speaking with one voice for social work, including Government departments, professional bodies, NGOs, practitioners and academics to ensure that unwelcome political interference is resisted. This may require developing a critically reflective stance and, at times, resistance to official pronouncements.
• Developing a robust research base for the profession that speaks with authority and evidence. Research that is about, for and with social work and social workers.
• Learning from the mistakes of other countries, e.g. England’s recent official approach to professionalization, as well as from their successes, whilst ensuring that all developments are appropriately contextualised and address the needs of all peoples in Malaysia.
• Internationalising social work education to be able to assess the worth of other models, to understand other approaches and to enhance confidence in bespoke Malaysian approaches where they work well and to adapt them when they do not.

A core element of learning that UK, and especially English, social work academics and practitioners need to undertake is to reflect on the core principles that are demonstrated elsewhere in the world; principles that are, in fact, illustrated by the commitment, energy and ‘can-do’ attitude we have seen from Malaysian social workers, NGOs, professional bodies and academics. In a recent note we sent to our UK Association of Professors of Social Work about our need to learn from global approaches to social work, we were heartened to hear how many of our colleagues agreed wholeheartedly.

Malaysian social work possesses a number of important strengths that will assist in making the most of the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. These include strong and competent academic teams within the universities who work with each other, government departments, NGOs and professional bodies and speak with a single voice, in the main, about the way forward. The enthusiasm and dedication of social workers, managers and academics promoting a ‘can-do’ attitude that will make positive change happen. It is important, however, to foster a critically reflexive approach that allows for challenge and resistance where that is appropriate. This may be harder to achieve for our colleagues for whom compliance is a virtue taught from an early age.

Malaysian social workers should promote their achievements across the region and across the world. We saw many examples of good practice to highlight. Furthermore to sustain these excellent developments we discussed the importance that the universities, in conjunctions with other social work groups, develop and work towards a robust research strategy.

Social work research is not costly, and much more important than addressing university KPIs for income-generation (which in social science, in general, is difficult and often more so for social work which across the world is seen either as a poor relation to other disciplines or a troublesome aspect of life). However, conducting social work research provides both understanding and illumination of social phenomena and an evidence-base for social work that can be used to grow its future. One of the most important elements of such a strategy that we discussed together concerned publication and we offered our experience suggesting that publication in international, as well as ASEAN, journals represents the best way forward. Whilst this can be difficult when writing in a second language our established experience with social work colleagues at both Universiti Sains Malaysia and Universiti Malaysia Sarawak shows that writing with scholars from other countries, and including native English speakers can overcome these difficulties. Doing so increases the visibility of Malaysian social work and citation counts, something that our colleagues we aware may appeal to their university managers.

The future is potentially very bright for Malaysian social work, and we hope that the opportunities will be grasped and a qualified, skilled, principled and professional workforce represents the future.

(Much of this blog was adapted from a paper written for the Malaysian Association of Social Workers journal)

Prof Jonathan Parker & Dr Sara Ashencaen Crabtree

Abortion a hot topic in UK in the 1960s and 1970s: A sociological analysis of book reviews of the edited volume Experience with Abortion: A case study of North-East Scotland

Prof Edwin van TeijlingenLate August Sociological Research Online published my historical analysis of the reviews of the book Experience with Abortion: A case study of North-East Scotland edited by Aberdeen-based academic Gordon Horobin. Experience with Abortion, published in 1973 by Cambridge University Press, was the first study of abortion of its kind to be published in the UK since the introduction of the 1967 Abortion Act. The book’s contributors had been involved in a multi-disciplinary longitudinal study of women’s experience of abortion in Aberdeen in the period 1963-1969.

The paper is content analysis of the book reviews which I found in the late 1980s when I helped clear out Gordon Horobin’s former office in the Department of Sociology (University of Aberdeen).  Amongst the papers to be thrown out were photocopies and cuttings of reviews of  Horobin’s book of the first social medicine study on abortion published since the introduction of the 1967 Abortion Act. I saved the paperwork from recycling. Since then I have searched electronically for further reviews at the time and this resulted in the recently published article.

The paper in Sociological Research Online sets the scene at the time of publication in the early 1970s, and includes abortion as a societal issue, the 1967 Abortion Act and the role of the MRC Medical Sociology Unit in Aberdeen. The reviews were analysed using content analysis. Considering the controversy of abortion at the time, it is interesting that the book reviews were overwhelmingly positive towards both Experience with Abortion and the need for high quality social science research in this field. Several reviews highlighted the importance of having someone like Sir Dugald Baird in Aberdeen and of the Aberdeen-based Medical Research Council’s (MRC) Medical Sociology Unit. Other reviews highlighted Aberdeen’s reputation as a city with a fairly liberal policy towards abortion before the Abortion. One of the chapters in Experience with Abortion reported that between 1938–1947, some 233 women in North-East Scotland had their pregnancies terminated in Aberdeen, less than 25 per year!  Dugald Baird started offering abortions on the NHS in the 1950s. He would offer to terminate the unwanted pregnancies of women with too many children and offer subsequent sterilisation. Today nearly 40 years later, abortion has largely disappeared from the social policy agenda in the UK, although not in many other countries.
Edwin van Teijlingen

References:
Horobin, G. (ed.) (1973) Experience with Abortion; A case study of North-East Scotland, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
van Teijlingen E.R. (2012) A Review of Book Reviews: A Sociological Analysis of Reviews of the Edited Book Experience with Abortion, Sociological Research Online 17 (3) available online: http://www.socresonline.org.uk/17/3/14.html