Colette Eaton reviews a study offering fresh insights into decision making in social work
Viviene Cree and Steve Myers
The Policy Press
I was asked by a student on placement: “How do you know when you’re making the right decisions?” After long discussion, we agreed that this was the eternal social work dilemma and that practice experience and good supervision helped. However, we wanted a handbook. I wish I’d had Social Work: Making a Difference.
Modelled on problem-based learning approaches, the book is cleverly organised around social work’s six national occupational standards and presents comprehensive scenarios gleaned from real practice that are directly relevant to each standard.
The scenarios are discussed in detail and a historical background sets the work and the reader in context. The legislation and policy, theory, practice and underpinning values needed to approach the case are identified and explained.
This novel treatment of the occupational standards suggests contemporary models and methods to tackle the issues while requiring the reader to systematically examine their own approach to each scenario.
For each chapter, Cree and Myers sought the views and contributions of service users, carers and practitioners and this shows.
The book is thoroughly researched and offers a comprehensive bibliography with further reading and resources for each section. Not only is this an impressive starting point for students but also a handbook for experienced practitioners wishing to critically examine their decisions.
Colette Eaton works at Blackburn College as a support manager for students with learning disabilities and physical disabilities. She is also a practice assessor for social work students