Doing a job share can be difficult and needs top communication
and organisational skills. Job sharing two jobs is even more of a
challenge, as Moira Andrew and Rory Macrae will testify. “It isn’t
straightforward sharing two jobs and I wouldn’t recommend it in any
other circumstances,” says Macrae.
The two of them have been running a court-mandated domestic
violence project for abusive men in Edinburgh for several years and
now also co-run a similar voluntary project. Such schemes are few
as most domestic violence work focuses on women and children. “We
wanted practice to change in a way that made real the idea of
making men responsible for their domestic violence,” says Macrae.
“We put violence at the centre of the problem.”
As pioneers of this kind of work, Andrew and Macrae also train
other professionals and hold seminars. “We’ve done a lot of
training for front-line staff such as health visitors, midwives,
alcohol workers and child protection workers,” says Macrae.
The voluntary project, called Working with Men, is still a pilot
but they have 17 referrals – the maximum number. For both projects,
the men start with individual sessions. “We listen to the
constructs the men have about the world, about relationships and
themselves,” says Macrae. “We look at the constructs they use to
justify their behaviour and introduce ideas about cognitive
Once they feel the man is ready, he is introduced to group work
with other men.
Andrew says the fact that they operate as a male-female partnership
sends out a strong and important message to the men with whom they
work. “When working with abusive men, the model of co-working
between men and women is the best way of working. It’s good for the
men to hear women saying things with equal authority.”
With it being such a sensitive area of work, Macrae says it is
vital that group workers trust each other’s ability. “You need to
know that if you are taking the group on a risky limb that the
other person will support you on that,” he says.
Having worked together for so long and in such close partnership,
Andrew and Macrae say they can easily anticipate the other’s logic
and provide support.
They try to keep the two jobs separate and work in different
offices, meeting on a Wednesday to do handovers. But Macrae says it
is difficult not to let the practice work encroach on the Working
with Men development work when problems arise. “If you have court
reports to do or people in crisis, that can take over,” he
Despite the complications of their working set-up and the
administrative challenges it brings, Andrew and Macrae think the
positives of job sharing both jobs outweigh the negatives. Having
designed and developed the projects themselves, they also have a
strong personal commitment to the work and are always bouncing
ideas off each other. “Even though I have the skills to do both
jobs, I couldn’t do either of them as well on my own,” says Andrew.
“We definitely give both jobs more than we could as separate
CURRICULUM VITAE: Moira Andrew
From 2004 Job share, senior social worker,
Edinburgh domestic violence probation project (DVPP).
2000-present Seconded to Working with Men
1990-present Founding member, DVPP. 1979-90 Social
worker, Edinburgh criminal justice social work service.
1973-9 Medical social worker, Princess Margaret
Rose Orthopaedic Hospital, Edinburgh.
1971-3 Three months as a social worker, then
catering work. 1968-71 Social work training, Moray House College,
CURRICULUM VITAE: Rory Macrae
2004-present Job share, senior social worker,
2002-present Job share, senior development post,
Working with Men.
Feb-Aug 1998 Job swap in Australia, running a
programme for abusive men.
1991-present Part-time social worker, DVPP, going
full time in 1996.
1991-6 Part-time social worker, resettlement team,
1988-91 Social worker, young offenders criminal
justice team, Fife Council.
1986-8 Social work training, Birmingham