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Suzy Braye Michael Preston-Shoot Amanda Thorpe JSWEC 2008 Cambridge.

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Presentation on theme: "Suzy Braye Michael Preston-Shoot Amanda Thorpe JSWEC 2008 Cambridge."— Presentation transcript:

1 Suzy Braye Michael Preston-Shoot Amanda Thorpe JSWEC 2008 Cambridge

2  Consider evidence on unlawful and unethical practice  Explore what happens to law knowledge at points of transition: ◦ From classroom to practice learning contexts ◦ From learner to qualified practitioner ◦ From student to employee  Review factors that distance professional practice from legal and moral rules  Identify how enhanced ‘law literacy’ can support lawful and ethical practice

3  Research into how social work students learn about law and use it in practice ◦ Knowledge review (SCIE) ◦ Study of the processes and outcomes of students’ law learning in placement (SWAP)  Judicial reviews of professional decisions ◦ R(CD & VD) v Isle of Anglesey CC [2004] 7 CCLR 589 ◦ Pierce v Doncaster MBC [2007] The Times, 27 Dec ◦ R(Grogan) v Bexley NHS Care Trust [2006] EWHC 44 (Admin) ◦ F(a child) [2002] EWCA Civ.439

4  The distillation of knowledge, understanding, skill and values that enables practitioner to connect relevant legal rules with the professional priorities and objectives of ethical practice Law literacy Values Skills Legal Knowledge

5  (1) Problems of learning ◦ How social work students learn law ◦ How well students are prepared to manage ethical dilemmas in practice  (2) Challenges of practice ◦ How use of law knowledge is mediated through the agency context in which practice takes place ◦ How codes of ethics and conduct are mediated through the same agency context

6 Law Seen as “not social work”Seen as alien, oppressive Problem translating into practice Loss of currency & confidence Ethics Education enhances rather than changes values Competing moral codes Moral practice under theorised Multiple accountabilities left unresolved

7 “No-one actually mentions law. It’s more of an assumption that it’s there. No one actually talks about it.” “There’s a culture of not talking about knowledge that underpins practice. It is possible to work in an agency and not to know much about the law.” Law is implicit rather than explicit in practice “Whilst I am an experienced practitioner, I would not have the confidence in my knowledge to try to pass on that information.” Practitioner knowledge decays over time: no CPD focus

8 “I’ve often said to social work students, when you’re qualified you really can’t go out there and change the world, you can only work within the requirements and statutes that your local authority allows you to.” Organisational culture mediates both legal and ethical rules “We need to teach students to implement agency policy.” Resources and procedures rule decisions

9 Lack of explicit focus on law and ethics in practice Reliance on agency policy & procedures Legal and ethical rules ignored Professional accountability undermined Anxieties about the law and ethics in practice Avoidance of the anxiety provoking topic

10 Law literacy Place explicit focus on ‘law talk’, connecting law and ethics Explore relationship between procedures and legal rules Enhance self- responsibility for cpd Draw on expertise by experience Address student & practitioner anxiety Promote access to tools and resources Link academic & practice learning

11  Enhanced visibility of law and values as determinant of ‘right’ or ‘just’ practice ◦ ‘protect the rights... of service users and carers’ ◦ ‘meet relevant standards of practice and work in a lawful, safe and effective way’ (GSCC Code)  Moving beyond a technical ‘legal powers and duties’ approach to engage with the political impact of law and its role in promoting rights  Technical proficiency balanced with critical thinking  Ongoing professional development focus  Better understanding of accountability

12  Braye, S. & Preston-Shoot, M. (with Cull, L-A., Johns, R., Roche, J.) (2005) Learning, Teaching and Assessment of Law in Social Work Education: A Knowledge Review. London: Social Care Institute for Excellence.  Braye, S., Preston-Shoot, M. and Thorpe, A. (2006) Social Work Law in Practice. Southampton: Higher Education Academy SWAP.  Braye, S. and Preston-Shoot, M. (2006) Teaching, Learning and Assessment of Law in Social Work Education: A Resource Guide. London: Social Care Institute for Excellence.  Braye, S., Preston-Shoot, M. and Thorpe, A. (2007) ‘Beyond the classroom: law learning in practice’. Journal of Social Work,7, 3,  Braye, S. and Preston-Shoot, M. (2006) ‘The role of law in welfare reform: critical perspectives on the relationship between law and social work practice’, International Journal of Social Welfare, 15,

13  Professor Suzy Braye University of Sussex, UK  Professor Michael Preston-Shoot University of Bedfordshire, UK  Amanda Thorpe University of Bedfordshire, UK


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