Using the Law in Social Work (5th edition)Robert Johns
ISBN 978 0 85725 405 4
For new social work students, the fifth edition of Using the Law in Social Work gives a good basic introductory overview of the main legal issues. It is not designed or suitable for detailed legal reference, but has good suggestions for further reading, writes Linda Naylor.
There is a particularly useful section on how laws are made, which includes a clear flowchart. We are told how to differentiate between civil and criminal law. Other areas of law covered include human rights, child care law, community care and youth justice. There is also a helpful summary of adult law relevant to different adult service user groups. However, discriminatory legislation, housing and domestic violence are not covered.
Although this is a fifth edition, there remains an emphasis in the book on older examples, such as Cleveland child abuse inquiry, rather than using current examples of practice. The section on safeguarding vulnerable adults is weak and fails to reflect the current emphasis on safeguarding plans and multi-agency work. There is a short section on information sharing which, again, is limited and lacks clear guidance about sharing information about vulnerable adults. The book describes itself as interactive and exercises are set throughout, which vary in quality and challenge. Often these exercises ask questions which are answered in the text below, but some are more thought-provoking.
One of the most useful sections takes the social worker through what to do in court and court etiquette. All social work students should read this chapter. Overall, the book is clearly written and explains any technical terms well, assuming no prior legal knowledge.
Linda Naylor is an independent trainer for Training Matters
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