paul  stepney Author of Evaluating Organization Development

paul stepney

Adjunct Professor of Social Work
University of Tampere

Paul Stepney, PhD, is Adjunct Professor of Social Work at the University of Tampere in Finland and visiting professor at 2 other Finnish universities. Prior to this he taught at 4 UK universities and during the 1990s combined teaching at Exeter University with a hospital social work post. Paul’s research interests are in critical practice and prevention, and he is currently evaluating the effectiveness of mental health services in one English NHS Trust. He is co-editor/co-author of 3 books.


Prior to teaching in Finland Paul has taught social work theory and methods, social policy and research methods at a number of UK universities, including Hull, Manchester, Exeter and Wolverhampton. He has also been an Open University social sciences course tutor and contributed to new course material.

During the past few years Paul has become a respected international conference speaker and has given both key note addresses and papers at conferences in the Czech Republic, Croatia, Finland, Hungary and UK. He has also appeared on television and radio phone-in programs to discuss social policy reforms, social work practice issues and contemporary social problems such as violence at football matches.

Areas of Research / Professional Expertise

    Paul is a qualified social worker with experience of adult social care, child protection and mental health in both fieldwork and hospital settings.

    Paul’s current research interests are in the area of critical practice, prevention and topical issues associated with social and political trends in Europe. He has had a number of articles published in international journals including, prevention in social work, rethinking social work in an age of austerity, the rise of new right 'tea parties' in Europe, Brexit and its implications for social work, and a critical assessment of the legacy of Margaret Thatcher. He has also had chapters published in edited books, including recently a chapter on women, alcohol and loss in the night-time economy and the demise of accountability in public services with a particular focus on the hidden scourge of sepsis.

    Paul has recently undertaken cross national research with practitioners in two European cities to examine the role of prevention in mainstream social services. The research has highlighted how particular strategies of prevention can be incorporated in protection plans, thereby assisting practitioners to find the most effective ways of managing risk, enhancing the wellbeing of vulnerable clients and protecting the public. He is currently assisting staff to evaluate the effectiveness of a community resource Centre in one NHS Mental Health Trust in the West of England.


Featured Title
 Featured Title - Social Work Theory and Methods - 1st Edition book cover


Critical and Radical Social Work

Prevention in Social Work: the final frontier?

Published: Nov 30, 2014 by Critical and Radical Social Work
Authors: Paul Stepney
Subjects: Sociology & Social Policy, Research Methods, Social Work

The concept of 'prevention' presents enduring dilemmas for social work. There have been many successful prevention projects but few of the lessons have been incorporated into mainstream services which concentrate on protection and risk management. In this article the 'paradox of prevention' debate is examined alongside findings from research with practitioners in two European welfare states. This indicates why it has proved difficult to translate good policy intentions into effective practice.