Effective Practice Updates

What makes me a social worker?

Published on 28th June 2017

I am not a social worker because a regulator says that I am.

I signed up to be part of an international profession, with a global identity and ethics, and with a shared purpose that crosses national boundaries.

I studied with others who shared a commitment to this identity, ethics and purposes. I carried out work that enabled me to put these into practice. I continue to learn and develop so that I can do this better.

As it happens, I undertook a course approved in... Read full article

Keep hopeful; keep helpful

Published on 24th March 2017

I am finding that more and more conversations in social work are ethical conversations about how we do good work in a difficult context. I hear a great deal about struggle. And I find myself wondering how we can aspire when aspiration may not seem realistic.

Much of the work I do requires aspiration. It is about how we empower people, develop excellent practice, build support for social workers, and argue passionately and knowledgably for resources. Sometimes the choice seems to be to... Read full article

Our tenth podcasts, time to think about progress...

Published on 7th February 2017

What has happened in social work in the last year that felt like progress? What do we need to work on?


As our podcast, Helpful Social Work, comes up to a year old, Jo Fox and I look back on the last twelve months in social work.

We try and avoid thinking just about what’s different (change), and look for where things have got better (progress). There are positives, despite the difficult context, but a lot still to do.


Our ambition for the next year is... Read full article

Doing less with less

Published on 21st November 2016

In our latest podcast, Jo Fox and I unpick the idea that we can keep doing More with Less.

As cuts affect more and more people, evidence grows that we cannot maintain quality with less resource. We talk about how social workers can sustain ourselves and work ethically in the midst of cuts. We also consider how we can most effectively lobby for the resource that is needed for people to have good lives.

We argue that we cannot pretend that we can do everything. Instead we need to... Read full article

Not a luxury: new podcasts on support and supervision

Published on 27th October 2016

The latest podcasts from Jo Fox and me are on emotional containment and supervision.

The National Audit Office reported this month that “nationally the quality of help and protection for children is unsatisfactory and inconsistent, suggesting systemic rather than just local failure." The NAO highlighted that:

Social workers work in pressured circumstances that can sometimes lead to low morale, high vacancy and turnover rates, and a reliance on temporary staff. Ofsted has found... Read full article

New podcasts on social work relationships

Published on 28th September 2016

The latest podcasts from Jo Fox  and me are on relationships between social workers. The first is about relationships with colleagues, including group dynamics. The second is about social work as a single profession.

Relationships with colleagues – at work and across the profession – are a crucial source of support. Relationship comes from the Latin relatio meaning a narration or story. We think the story of social work relationships should be a positive and hopeful one. Some current... Read full article

New podcasts on workload and recording

Published on 9th September 2016

I have just posted the latest podcasts from Jo Fox and me on workload and recording.

Parkinson’s law states that work expands to fit the time and space available. Social workers will never finish all the work that there is to do or write down everything that we possibly could. These podcasts aim to help us consider how to work sustainably and effectively.

We look at the evidence around workload management systems and identify the principles that support us to manage our work.... Read full article

New podcasts on the environment: The ethics of hotdesking

Published on 28th July 2016

I have just posted the latest podcasts from Jo Fox and me on the environment, and particularly on hotdesking.

Social workers have an ethical responsibility to care about our context. The International Federation of Social Workers’ Code of Ethics says​:

“Social workers have a duty to take necessary steps to care for themselves professionally and personally in the workplace and in society, in order to ensure that they are able to provide appropriate service.”

We explore... Read full article

New podcasts - critical reflection: a helpful habit

Published on 1st July 2016

The latest podcasts from Jo Fox and me are on critical reflection. This is a really important topic for us; something that is crucial to helpful practice.

We first take a look at the theory and evidence around using critical reflection, and offer a model for doing good critical reflection in practice.

We then share some of our learning about how social workers make critical reflection happen, despite the pressure and busyness of our work.


Habitual... Read full article

No one is an island

Published on 2nd June 2016

As a social worker, what matters to me in the EU referendum

I have been looking at what is likely to happen to social care and to health if we leave the European Union. The British Medical Association have just published a guide to help medics think about the referendum’s implications. It raises some issues that are helpful for social work to consider:

Workforce – Eleven per cent of doctors qualified in another European Economic Area state. (page 3)

In social care 75000 or 5.2... Read full article


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