Andy Mantell (Editor)Learning Matters ISBN 9781844452187
The contents page reveals a book covering a range of general social work skills. There are chapters on assessment, communication and collaborative working. But it is fair to say that there are better, dedicated resources available on these subjects.
What Learning Matters does well, however, is provide accessible material that paraphrases core texts and publishes books quickly so that contributors can reflect current policy developments in their summaries.
The chapter “Skills for engagement” is an example of the success of this approach. A consideration of the importance of a therapeutic working alliance is given with links then drawn to the application of this under the personalisation agenda in social care.
Chapters on decision-making, case recording and reflective practice are also effective.
A disappointment is the limited depth with which the authors explore the particular demands of working with adult service users.
In the main, the use of adult services case studies is the limit of the analysis and experiences in children’s services are sometimes introduced as if automatically interchangeable with work with adults.
As a whole, the book is unlikely to be enough for social work students seeking to consider these core skills issues. It will, though, appeal as an accessible introduction, presented in a current context and as a signpost to more detailed sources of information.
Rob Fountain is head of training at short breaks charity the Shared Care Network
This review is published in the 15 October isue of Community Care magazine