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How not to observe social workers in practice

Wilkins, David ORCID: and Antonopoulou, Vivi 2017. How not to observe social workers in practice. Social Work Education 36 (7) , pp. 837-843. 10.1080/02615479.2017.1340446

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The home visit is central to the practice of contemporary child and family social work, yet we know comparatively little about what social workers use them for and how. Descriptions of practice and policies and procedures that overlook the emotional, physical and relational complexity of the home visit will inevitably miss something important about the social work role. More and more researchers are using observational methods to produce descriptions of home visit practices, while the Department for Education has been trialing observations as part of a national accreditation programme in England. Local authorities for many years have been engaged in observations of students and newly-qualified workers. However, none of these developments mean that observing social workers in practice and on a wider scale is straight-forward. This paper describes an attempt to introduce regular observations of social work practice in three inner London local authorities—and discusses how and why this attempt failed. By so doing, we hope to provide helpful lessons for others who may be thinking of using observations of practice more widely within their own authorities or as part of a research project.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Published Online
Status: Published
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
ISSN: 0261-5479
Funders: Department for Education
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 21 September 2018
Date of Acceptance: 3 June 2017
Last Modified: 06 Nov 2023 20:41

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