1st Edition

Professional Judgement and Decision Making in Social Work Current Issues

Edited By Brian Taylor, Andrew Whittaker Copyright 2019
    142 Pages
    by Routledge

    142 Pages
    by Routledge

    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.

    1. Introduction - Professional judgement and decision-making in social work  2. Comparing child protection decision-making in England and Finland: supervised or supported judgement?  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  4. Legal capacity and the mental health social worker role: an international comparison  5. Professional discretion and length of work experience: what findings from focus groups with care managers in elder care suggest  6. Dimensions for argument and variability in child protection decision-making  7. Child protection decision-making: social workers’ perceptions  8. Transitioning from ‘outside observer’ to ‘inside player’ in social work: practitioner and student perspectives on developing expertise in decision-making  9. A balancing act: a grounded theory study of the professional judgement of child protection social workers


    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.