Effective Practice Updates

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.... Read full article

New podcasts - being purposeful and telling our story

Published on 16th May 2016

Another month, another two podcasts. Jo Fox and I recorded these following an inspiring day coaching social care managers. We share two topics that are essential to sustainable social work practice: purposefulness and stories.

Social work is tremendously busy. One of the most important questions we face each day is: 'what shall I leave undone?' We talk about the difficulties of remaining purposeful under pressure and the importance of looking after our wellbeing so that we can be... Read full article

New podcasts on values and beliefs, evidence and ideology

Published on 21st April 2016

Jo Fox and I have just posted a new podcast on values and beliefs.

This seemed like an important topic to prioritise. Social work is work with people and so the values and beliefs we hold will inevitably have an impact on what we do and how we go about it.

As we can’t avoid our values and beliefs being part of our work, we do need to be conscious of them, strive to understand where they come from and be prepared to talk about them.

This podcast aims to help us reflect on... Read full article

Social work podcast launched on World Social Work Day 2016

Published on 15th March 2016

Helpful Social Work is a new podcast that aims to help social workers to learn, think and act with integrity so that people who need social work get help that will transform their lives.

These podcasts are created by me and by Jo Fox at Child Centred Practice. We’ve started this podcast and launched it on World Social Work Day because social work matters to us.

Social work matters because it helps those, who would otherwise lack the resources to manage, maintain or restore... Read full article

New Year blog: learning from 2015; hopes for 2016

Published on 4th January 2016

The blogs that I have written in 2015 show the shape of my year: January’s was on stress following a survey by Community Care; for world social work day in March I wrote about the importance to me of having a college of social work; May’s blog was about the election and its implications for social work; through the summer I wrote about the closure of the college and how we could take its legacy onwards; I finished up the year with a blog on motivation following the November spending review... Read full article

How do you motivate people?

Published on 23rd November 2015

Last week I spent the day in a supervision workshop with 25 enthusiastic social care managers looking at how they can best enable practitioners to work well.

Halfway through a discussion, one of the managers asked: ‘how do we keep motivating staff when things are so difficult, when there’s so little money and people are really struggling?’

Good question; particularly now when we have the spending review coming up fast and Joseph Rowntree Foundation’s report on poverty just out... Read full article

Supported housing, Convent style

Published on 27th October 2015

My Aunt is a Dominican Sister (Catholic religious order) in Cape Town. She recently moved into a newly built convent that is a fantastic example of supported housing. This gave me some great insight into how to do community living well. There’s a lot we can learn from the nuns.



The convent was designed with input from everyone who was going to live in it. The Sisters commented on every aspect of the home, including the need to preserve two huge avocado... Read full article


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