Professional Judgement and Decision Making in Social Work: Current Issues, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Professional Judgement and Decision Making in Social Work

Current Issues, 1st Edition

Edited by Brian Taylor, Andrew Whittaker


130 pages

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Hardback: 9780367179700
pub: 2019-02-26
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Professional judgement and decision making are central to social work, both in everyday professional practice and in public perceptions of social work as a profession. This book examines key issues that are relevant today.

The chapters cover child protection, mental health, and elder care settings in Europe, Australia and Canada. They discuss organisational and cultural contexts for professional judgement; the role of experience in the development of expertise and professional discretion; understanding variability in decision making; and the role of legal frameworks in decision making.

This book will enable practitioners, managers, policy makers, and researchers to appreciate the complexities of professional judgement and decision making in different social work settings and to apply this understanding to their own practice. This book was originally published as a special issue of the Journal of Social Work Practice.

The book is linked to sister text Risk in Social Work Practice: Current Issues, which examines key debates around the understanding of risk in contemporary social work practice.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction - Professional judgement and decision-making in social work Brian Taylor and Andrew Whittaker

2. Comparing child protection decision-making in England and Finland: supervised or supported judgement? Rachel Falconer and Steven M. Shardlow

3. What makes it so hard to look and to listen? Exploring the use of the Cognitive and Affective Supervisory Approach with children’s social work managers Danielle Turney and Gillian Ruch

4. Legal capacity and the mental health social worker role: an international comparison Jim Campbell, Lisa Brophy, Gavin Davidson & Ann-Marie O’Brien

5. Professional discretion and length of work experience: what findings from focus groups with care managers in elder care suggest Anna Olaison, Sandra Torres and Emilia Forssell

6. Dimensions for argument and variability in child protection decision-making A. Mosteiro, U. Beloki, E. Sobremonte & A. Rodríguez

7. Child protection decision-making: social workers’ perceptions Nhlanganiso Nyathi

8. Transitioning from ‘outside observer’ to ‘inside player’ in social work: practitioner and student perspectives on developing expertise in decision-making Kate Leonard and Louise O’Connor

9. A balancing act: a grounded theory study of the professional judgement of child protection social workers Martin Kettle

About the Editors

Brian Taylor is Professor of Social Work at Ulster University in Northern Ireland, UK, where he leads the Decision, Assessment, Risk and Evidence Studies (DARES) research cluster. He has published widely on these topics including the books Decision Making, Assessment and Risk in Social Work (2013) and Understanding and Using Research in Social Work (with Anne McGlade and Campbell Killick, 2015).

Andrew Whittaker is an Associate Professor of Social Work at London South Bank University, UK, where he is Head of the Risk, Resilience and Expert Decision Making (RRED) research group. His research focuses upon child protection and the risks faced by young people in cities.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
MEDICAL / Health Care Delivery