Tagged / social work

Jonathan Parker’s Keynote address at the International Social Work Conference 2012

Professor Jonathan Parker, Deputy Dean (Research & Knowledge Exchange) delivered the Keynote address at the “International Social Work Conference 2012: Crafting Symbiotic Collaboration and Partnership in the Asia-Pacific Region”, held in Penang, Malaysia last week.

This international conference, jointly organised by the Institut Sosial Malaysia, the government Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development and the Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), Penang, Malaysia, with the support of government Department of Social Welfare, Malaysia and the Malaysian Association of Social Workers. Professor Parker’s invitation to deliver the keynote was made in recognition of the important work that he and Dr Ashencaen Crabtree conducted in developing partnerships and collaboration in cross-cultural learning for social work students.

Professor Parker spoke about the three-year British Council funded research project promoting UK student mobility to Malaysia. It involved developing partnerships at organisational levels between UK (BU) and Malaysian universities (Uuniversiti Sains Malaysia and Universiti Malaysia Sarawak), but was only possible because of prior personal and collegiate relationships – the substrate, or foundations, of symbiotic partnership and collaboration.

The positive results of the collaboration and enhanced cross-cultural understanding were presented, including enhanced employment prospects for UK students – something found as part of a follow-up Fusion Investment Fund study last year. However, Professor Parker’s keynote also problematised the mode of learning and the collaboration and partnerships evolved to facilitate the work, drawing attention to:

  • Isomorphic tendencies in social work education globally (a move towards a common state)
  • Hegemonies of nation-states (in which one assumes a position of power)
  • Hegemonies of social work: practice & values
  • Tyrannies of received ideas

He posed the question for the conference, what future is there for international collaboration and partnerships in social work education? The importance of criticality and reflexivity in analysing collaboration types, power balances and differentials was stressed, recognising that not all relationships are top-down, bottom-up or even equal but are likely to be fuzzy and plural in meanings and directions. Accepting this allows for change and diversity as partnership relationships develop, and demands that we become more comfortable with the places and spaces we occupy as actors in mutual collaborations.

Professor Parker’s keynote was warmly welcomed and further research collaboration is planned with a wider network of Malaysian universities and potential support from the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development and Department of Social Welfare.

BU’s Professor Keith Brown announced as speaker at first National MCA/DOLS Conference

Professor Keith Brown, Director of the Centre for Post Qualifying Social Work at BU, has been added to the list of speakers at the Mental Capacity Act Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (MCA/DOLS) conference.

The national conference, which is the first of its kind, will focus on the current industry after MCA and DOLS legislation has been put in place.

Professor Keith BrownExhibitions from agencies and organisations will be displayed at the conference to further contribute to the knowledge of attendees. The day will be filled with presentations and various discussion groups around relevant topical issues.

Discussions will focus on whether the legislation has made a difference, the issues people are still experiencing and what still needs to be done to raise awareness and get people thinking about MCA/ DOLS.

The conference will be held on Tuesday 28 February 2012 at Inmarsat Conference Centre, London.

For more information or to book a place, please contact Denise Whickman at denise.whickman@sept.nhs.uk

Centre for Post Qualifying Social Work launch new Safeguarding frameworks

National Competence for Safeguarding Adults front coverNational Competence Framework for Safeguarding Adults

Learn to Care and Bournemouth University undertook this work in partnership to reflect the significant role that learning and developing plays in the delivery of high standards of social work and social care.

The framework will be invaluable to Adult Safeguarding Boards, practitioners and learning and development personnel, both in managing performance and delivering quality outcomes for people who are made vulnerable by their circumstances.


National Competence Framework for Safeguarding ChildrenNational Competence for Safeguarding Children front cover

This document complies with legislation, statutory guidance and best practice in relation to the safeguarding of children. Local Safeguarding Boards should take account of local needs, including an assessment of the effectiveness of multi-agency training to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and young people (Munro, 2011).

This document incorporates the recommendations from Professor Eileen Munro’s review into Child Protection in England and Wales.

The aim of this Framework, as with the other publication in this series – National Competence Framework for Safeguarding Adults – is to provide a baseline for standards of competence that individuals can expect to receive from those professionals and organisations, who are tasked with Safeguarding Children. It also provides employees and employers with a benchmark for the minimum standard of competence required of those who work to safeguard children across a range of sectors.

Assessing societal impact of social work research

Edwin Van TeijingenREF logoJonathan Parker
The Research Excellence Framework, or REF, is the new assessment method for publically funded research in universities. Its controversial new ‘impact’ element rates work based on evidence of social, economic or cultural benefits generated from it. But how easily can such things be quantified, particularly in applied academic subjects like social work?

Professors Jonathan Parker and Edwin van Teijlingen from Bournemouth University have addressed these questions in their paper ‘The Research Excellence Framework (REF): Assessing the Impact of Social Work Research on Society’, published in Practice: Social Work in Action.

They argue that ‘the framework raises doubts about whether it is possible to capture fully the impact of social work research at all, and social work itself for that matter’, and stress that some pathways need to be identified to do this.

In suggesting ways to evidence impact, such as primary evaluative research, Parker and Van Teijlingen also outline the stumbling blocks. There are data protection laws and the expense and time of tying up research evaluation with another research project.

The solution, they say, is for social work research to be built and undertaken in partnership with social care agencies; that impact is everybody’s concern and practitioners and those who use social work services and their carers have a role to play in its creation and identification.

Parker and Van Teijlingen acknowledge that the REF will promote critical-thinking, engage practitioners and address the challenges of public spending restraint, but express a deep-seated concern that this new method of assessment will mark a loss of ‘conceptual, theoretical and critical’ research.

Although assessing research through improved social, economic, health, and environmental aspects of life is unlikely to be questioned, Parker and Van Teijlingen strongly argue that it should not be the only set of research outcomes recognised.  They argue that if the REF approach becomes common currency, ‘society is likely to lose the deeper understandings and meanings that have permeated thinking and, no doubt practice and behaviour.’

Both firmly believe BU’s research programme designed to enhance social work practice through continuing professional education has changed practice and influenced policy, as well as numerous other benefits to culture, public services, health, environment and quality of life.

Read Parker and Van Teijlingen’s full paper.

Critical thinking and professional judgement for social work

Professional judgement, communication and critical reflection are vital aspects of a social worker’s role and a new book, ‘Critical thinking and professional judgement for social work’, aims to empower post-qualifying students to develop these skills.

The front cover of 'Critical Thinking and Professional Judgement for Social Work'Author Lynne Rutter from the Centre for Post Qualifying Social Work at Bournemouth University explains more about professional learning, a new way of thinking and her own research.

“I am intrigued by the psychology associated with learning. It is obviously an emotional and very personal experience, especially for qualified practitioners, but it should also be an empowering experience.

“For me, professional higher education is about developing more complex thinking which has practical, reflective, personal, moral, as well as objective, conceptual and theoretical aspects. All these aspects are part of professional reasoning and judgement and ultimately professional understanding and knowledge, and so are equally important.

“My journey has led me to understand that there is a productive and empowering synergy here if no one aspect is privileged over the others and if a professional perspective becomes a focus. These were very important elements within the professional doctorate which made it very meaningful and useful for my own practice. The book brings much of this work together and aims to highlight and develop the complex thinking associated with professional learning as a key part of developing confidence and authority in a professional role.”

Order a copy of ‘Critical thinking and professional judgement for social work’.

Ground-breaking report published by BU research centre

A new report that will serve as a blueprint for effective leadership in social work and social care has just been published by the Centre for Post-Qualifying Social Work at BournemouthUniversity.

Entitled ‘Leadership and Management Development for Social Work and Social Care: Creating Leadership Pathways of Progression’, the ground-breaking report is co-authored by Professor Keith Brown, Director of the Centre, and Jane Holroyd MBE on behalf of Learn to Care, the body which represents workforce development managers from all local authorities in England.

Leadership & Management Development for Social Work & Social CareThe report provides the UK’s first framework for establishing an effective Leadership and Management pathway in social work and social care.  It addresses the major concerns and recommendations identified following the Peter Connelly case by the Social Work Reform Board (2009) and the Munro Review of Child Protection Services (2011) in terms of the call for a clear leadership and management strategy for front line social work managers.

This new framework has been developed over the past 18 months and has involved rigorous testing and piloting. A new underpinning theory and approach, Self-Leadership, which critically emphasises the quality of thinking and developing the abilities to manage self as part of improving personal and organisational performance, has been developed by Professor Brown and Jane Holroyd. Holroyd suggests this model is applicable to all professions, whatever their managerial position, as all professionals will be leaders within their own sphere of influence.

The report also highlights the critical role of assessment and evaluation to demonstrate that individuals have reached the required levels of competence and that a return on the investment is evidenced.

Conor Burns, MP for Bournemouth West, has hailed the framework as enormously important for the future of long term care in the UK.

“Reputationally for Bournemouth University, this is an incredibly important breakthrough. What we are currently doing with social work and social care training is teaching without testing and training without measuring the impact,” he said.

“As a state, we are spending millions and millions and not questioning the effectiveness of that spend”.

The Centre for Post Qualifying Social Work at Bournemouth University is at the leading edge of post qualifying social work education in the UK. It works with over one third of all local authorities in England and over 70 major employers, including training social workers within the armed forces.

The Centre’s portfolio of courses are designed to raise standards in social work practice and help those in social work and social care demonstrate their competence to work within complex situations with the most vulnerable in our society.

Of particular note, this leadership framework has been developed to meet the requirements of the NHS Leadership Qualities Framework and it is anticipated that this will be of real value, especially as we see increasing integration between the NHS and Local Authority community services in the coming months.

You can order a copy of the publication by emailing kbrown@bournemouth.ac.uk

Research by Prof Keith Brown featured in The Guardian

Congratulations to BU’s Professor Keith Brown from the Centre for Post-Qualifying Social Work. Keith co-authored a report with Learn to Care that contains details of a leadership development scheme for social workers currently underway in Hampshire. The scheme aims to give managers the confidence to lead through change and hold staff to account, and is already being viewed as a model for other local authorities.

Details of the scheme are contained in a new report that outlines a strategy of guiding principles on leadership development and a proposed “pathway of leadership progression”. Aimed at giving managers the confidence to lead through change and hold staff to account, it is being seen as a model for other local authorities.

You can access the online story here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2011/oct/19/model-for-social-care-management?newsfeed=true