• Hapless, helpless, hopeless: an analysis of stepmothers' talk about their (male) partners

      Roper, Sandra; Capdevila, Rose; University of Bedfordshire; Open University (SAGE, 2020-03-31)
      The identity of stepmother is, in many ways, a troubled one – constructed as “other” and often associated with notions of “wickedness” in literature and everyday talk. This paper reports findings from a study on the difficulties faced by stepmothers and how they use talk about their (male) partners, often constructing men as hapless, helpless or hopeless, to repair their “troubled” identities. The data were collected from a web forum for stepmothers based in the UK and 13 semi-structured face-to-face interviews with stepmothers. The analysis took a synthetic narrative-discursive methodological approach, underpinned by feminist theory with particular attention to the discourses that were drawn on by participants and the constraints that these imposed. This paper presents these findings in relation to three constructions of their partners through which repair work was attempted: men as in need of rescue; men as flawed fathers; and men as damaged. The paper concludes with some suggestions for supporting stepmothers by challenging dominant narratives around families in talk, in the media and in government and institutional policies.
    • Harmful sexual behaviour in school: a briefing on the findings, implications and resources for schools and multi-agency partners

      Lloyd, Jenny; Walker, Joanne; Bradbury, Vanessa; Contextual Safeguarding Network; University of Bedfordshire (Contextual Safeguarding Network, 2020-06-24)
      A briefing that presents findings from a two-year study into harmful sexual behaviour (HSB) in English schools, Beyond Referrals Two. The briefing provides an overview of key thematic findings from the study, organised in relation to: the prevalence of HSB; strengths of responses; disclosure; peer support; parental engagement; and disability and provides 30 recommendations for schools, multi-agency safeguarding partners and the wider field of education.
    • Havering: Face to Face Pathways: final evaluation report

      Bostock, Lisa; Khan, Munira; Munro, Emily; Lynch, Amy; Baker, Claire; Newlands, Fiona; Antonopoulou, Vivi; Tilda Goldberg Centre for Social Work and Social Care, University of Bedfordshire (Department for Education, 2020-07-31)
      F2FP was an ambitious programme of change designed to embed systemic practice across the care pathway for young people on the edge of care, in care and leaving care. The project started in October 2017 and ended in October 2019. Key elements included: • targeted, intensive work through the Families Together team (FTT) with young people on the edge of care and their families to prevent entry to care where appropriate • adapting in-care provision to support 8 systemically trained and intensively supported foster carers (‘pathways carers’) to stabilise placements for children with complex needs and avoid the need to move children to residential care • extending leaving care services to young people aged 14 through to 25 and introducing ‘pathway co-ordinators’ to support access to multi-agency services • ensuring co-production is fully embedded and improving business intelligence to aid analysis, monitoring of progress and ability to better target resources
    • Heads of alternative provision: committed to realising young peoples’ potential in an unregulated market

      Malcolm, Andrew David (Taylor & Francis, 2018-05-04)
      Alternative provision (AP) caters for pupils marginalised and excluded from mainstream schooling. In England, it is conceptualised in policy as providing education to support behavioural improvements (pupils are directed off-site to improve behaviour). There is limited research on the experiences of those who work in AP settings. That which does exist tends to report the commitment of these professionals to the young people with whom they work. Young people who attend these schools frequently talk positively about the relationships they experience there. As such, there is a need to better understand the motivations of those working with these young people if we are to understand the key relationships that make AP work. This article fills a gap by focusing on the experiences of those managing AP settings across a geographical area. The findings are based on 3 interviews and 20 surveys and develop significantly our understanding of the motivations of those working in and managing AP settings. Interesting divergences in practice are highlighted and findings show managers both see and work to realise the potential of young people in AP. These findings suggest staff commitment should be conceptualised as belief in the potential of the young people who attend AP.
    • Hearts and minds: aspects of empathy and wellbeing in social work students

      Grant, Louise Jane (Taylor and Francis, 2013-06-14)
      Although empathy is critical to social work practice, the extent to which it can be measured, nurtured or taught is hotly debated. Furthermore, definitions of empathy are typically one-dimensional referring to the ability to adopt the perspective of others in order to understand their feelings, thoughts or actions. Such definitions do not adequately reflect the realities of empathy in the social work context or recognise its potential to lead to distress. This study utilises data from 359 social work students to examine relationships between several dimensions of empathy (i.e. perspective taking, concern and distress), reflective ability and wellbeing with a view to using the findings to develop evidence-based interventions to help staff develop appropriate empathic responses to service users' experiences. Whilst students reported fairly high levels of empathic concern, they also disclosed considerable empathic distress. Some evidence was found that reflective ability might protect social work students from empathic distress. Findings suggest that students require support to develop their empathic and reflective skills to effectively manage the emotional demands of practice. The use of techniques such as mindfulness and experiential learning for enhancing such skills is explored. © 2013 © 2013 Taylor & Francis.
    • Helsinki statement on social work practice research

      Fisher, Mike; Austin, Michael J.; Uggerhoj, Lars (Taylor & Francis, 2014-12-10)
    • Hincmar of Rheims: Life and work

      Stone, Rachel; West, Charles; University of Bedfordshire; University of Sheffield (Manchester University Press, 2015-07-01)
    • Holistic approaches to safeguarding adolescents

      Peace, Delphine; Atkinson, Ruth; University of Bedfordshire (University of Bdfordshire, 2019-02-28)
      This briefing shares findings from the Contextual Safeguarding Network’s third learning project exploring how local areas are developing holistic approaches to safeguarding adolescents from extra-familial risk. Holistic approaches are understood as coordinated strategic approaches that move beyond siloed responses to specific risks, such as child sexual exploitation (CSE), youth violence, criminal exploitation or teenage relationship abuse and develop overarching responses by joining meeting structures, assessments and interventions. The Contextual Safeguarding toolkit, which will be published on the Contextual Safeguarding Network in March 2019, will provide more exemplars of holistic approaches to safeguarding adolescents, including multi-agency extra-familial risk meeting protocols and templates. I
    • Home education, racism and Traveller communities

      D'Arcy, Kate (UCL IOE Press, 2014-09-01)
      The subject of home education, racism and Travellers is under-researched. Interestingly, Traveller communities are rarely considered as home educators, yet they represent an evergrowing element of the wider home-education population in the UK. In this article I discuss home education, racism and Traveller communities and consider the situation in which they are brought together. I draw on empirical data collected for my doctoral research and my professional experiences of working with Traveller communities in a Traveller Education service.
    • Home education, school, Travellers and educational inclusion

      D'Arcy, Kate (Taylor & Francis, 2014-08-21)
      The difficulties Traveller pupils experience in school are well documented. Yet those in home educating go unreported. Monk suggests this is because some groups are overlooked; that gypsies and Travellers are often not perceived as home educators. This article highlights how the move to home education is seldom a free choice for Traveller families. Although existing literature suggests this is a consequence of Traveller culture and mobility patterns, this article argues that problems in school drive uptake. Issues of race and ethnicity continue to drive educational inequality and there is an urgent need to redress this is in educational policy and practice.
    • The Hong Kong Statement on Practice Research 2017: contexts and challenges of the Far East

      Sim, Timothy; Austin, Michael J.; Abdullah, Fazlin; Chan, Tak Mau Simon; Chok, Martin; Cui, Ke; Epstein, Irwin; Fisher, Mike; Joubert, Lynette; Julkunen, Ilse; et al. (SAGE Publications Inc, 2018-06-15)
      This statement on social work practice research highlights the contributions of scholars, practitioners, and conference participants in the Fourth International Conference on Practice Research (ICPR) in 2017, hosted by The Hong Kong Polytechnic University in May 2017. It focuses on the contexts and challenges of carrying out practice research in the Far East and beyond as well as raises pertinent questions about the development of practice research. It begins with a brief description of the context of social work practice research in the Far East. The second part explores the organizational and community contexts and challenges of practice research with special attention to the perspectives of practitioners. It concludes with reviewing some of the continuing challenges that will guide the program planning for the Fifth ICPR in 2020 in Melbourne, Australia, located at the crossroads between East and West.
    • How do we assess the quality of group supervision? : developing a coding framework

      Bostock, Lisa; Patrizo, Louis; Godfrey, Tessa; Munro, Emily; Forrester, Donald; University of Bedfordshire; Frontline; Cardiff University (Elsevier, 2019-03-14)
      The importance of supervision for social work practice is one of the most widely accepted tenets of the profession. Yet, surprisingly little is known about what happens in supervision, making it difficult to unravel what it is about supervision that makes a difference to social work practice. This paper describes the development of a framework for assessing the quality of group supervision. It focuses on one sub-category of group supervision – systemic group supervision – and draws a wider evaluation of systemic social work practice in the UK. It is based on 29 observations of “live” of supervision to illustrate differences in quality of supervisory practice. The process of developing the coding framework was cyclical, and ultimately resulted in a three-point ordinal grouping for assessing systemic supervisory practice. Analysis of observational data assessed group systemic supervision as follows: 8 as non-systemic (28%); 12 (41%) as demonstrating some incorporation of systemic ideas into interactions, described as “green shoots” (or showing encouraging signs of development but not yet reached its full potential); and 9 (31%) supervision sessions demonstrating a full incorporation of systemic concepts and practice. What marked “systemic” sessions from “green shoots” supervision was the move from hypothesis generation about family relations and risk to children to purposeful, actionable conversations with families: the move from reflection to action. This paper supports a small but growing body of evidence about the fundamental characteristics of successful or effective supervision within children and families social work.
    • How is supervision recorded in child and family social work? an analysis of 244 written records of formal supervision

      Wilkins, David (Blackwell Publishing Ltd, 2016-10-20)
      Written records belie the complexity of social work practice. And yet, keeping good records is a key function for social workers in England (and elsewhere). Written records provide a future reference point for children, especially those in public care. They are foundational for the inspection of children's services. They provide practitioners and managers with an opportunity to record their thinking and decisions. They add to result from and cause much of the bureaucratic maze that practitioners have to navigate. As part of a wider study of child and family social work practice, this paper describes an analysis of more than 200 written records of supervision. These records primarily contain narrative descriptions of activity, often leading to a set of actions for the social worker to complete - what they should do next. Records of why these actions are necessary and how the social worker might undertake them are usually absent, as are records of analytical thinking or the child's views. This suggests that written records of supervision are not principally created in order to inform an understanding of the social work decision-making process; rather, they are created to demonstrate management oversight of practice and the accountability of the practitioner.
    • How not to observe social workers in practice

      Wilkins, David; Antonopoulou, Vivi; University of Bedfordshire (Routledge, 2017-06-19)
      The home visit is central to the practice of contemporary child and family social work, yet we know comparatively little about what social workers use them for and how. Descriptions of practice and policies and procedures that overlook the emotional, physical and relational complexity of the home visit will inevitably miss something important about the social work role. More and more researchers are using observational methods to produce descriptions of home visit practices, while the Department for Education has been trialing observations as part of a national accreditation programme in England. Local authorities for many years have been engaged in observations of students and newly-qualified workers. However, none of these developments mean that observing social workers in practice and on a wider scale is straight-forward. This paper describes an attempt to introduce regular observations of social work practice in three inner London local authorities—and discusses how and why this attempt failed. By so doing, we hope to provide helpful lessons for others who may be thinking of using observations of practice more widely within their own authorities or as part of a research project.
    • How the signified went missing in twentieth-century economic theory: Mises, Hayek and Schumpeter and the abolition of value

      Hoctor, Tom (Taylor & Francis, 2022-04-29)
      This article contributes to a growing literature on economic epistemologies by arguing that so-called ‘neoliberal’ ways of thinking are characteristic of a trend in wider social theory to privilege epistemological problematics over ontological ones. It will approach the shared nature of these epistemological precepts through an interrogation of the formal approaches to economic value used in the work of Schumpeter, Mises and Hayek and compare this with Derrida and Saussure’s understanding of linguistic value. Using a Marxian understanding of use-value, it will be argued that the movement to abolish the transcendental signified in post-structural philosophy is homologous to the abolition of objective value in economics. It will be claimed that the impulse to abolish the Thing shared by economic theorists and post- structuralists follows from a shared, though necessarily differently constituted, anti- socialism. In both cases, undermining the Thing is seen as a means of undermining organised socialist politics. I will conclude by arguing that these similarities demonstrate the need for neoliberalism and critique of neoliberalism to be historicised as part of a wider account of the relationship between contemporary capitalism, politics and the production of knowledge.
    • ‘I know how it sounds on paper’ : risk talk, the use of documents and epistemic justice in child protection assessment home visits

      Bostock, Lisa; Koprowska, Juliet; ; University of Bedfordshire; University of York (SAGE, 2022-09-06)
      Social workers carry much of the frontline authority to define risk to children and discuss it with families. Assessment reports and other institutional documents record professional views about family information, and also have the potential to convey the ‘voice’ of the family to institutions. Social workers have responsibility for sharing these documents with families, yet little is known about how they do this. This paper focuses on episodes when social workers introduce institutional documents in home visits, and on the family responses elicited. These are high-stakes encounters which, when they go seriously wrong, emerge in the press as tragedies and scandals. For families, these documents carry an emotional depth-charge as intimate, potentially shaming, and sometimes inaccurate details of their lives are inscribed in them by and for others. Latour’s (1996) concept of interobjectivity sheds light on the use of documents, while concepts of epistemic authority (Heritage and Raymond, 2005) and epistemic injustice (Fricker, 2007) are employed to examine how social workers respond to parental testimony about themselves and their children. Learning how to present institutional documentation in ways that reduce the risk of emotional reactivity and treating family perspectives with epistemic justice may enhance social work practice. At a policy level, the design of documents warrants review, so that they facilitate rather than obstruct social workers’ efforts to build what are already fragile relationships with families.
    • ‘I never promised you a rose garden’: gender, leisure and home-making

      Bhatti, Mark; Church, Andrew (Routledge, 2000-07-01)
      This paper explores the importance of contemporary gardens as leisure sites and argues that leisure in general, and the garden in particular, play an important role in the process of homemaking. We also consider how the contemporary garden reflects wider social relations by examining how gender relations imbue gardens and gardening. The gendered meanings of gardens and the garden as a place where gender power relations are played out, are highly significant in the social construction of ‘home’. Using primary research data, the paper looks at what it is about the domestic garden that is important to both men and women, and how it contributes to homemaking. The findings show that there are conflicting uses and meanings of gardens which help to reveal the changing nature of gender relations in late modernity.
    • ICPR2017 – The Fourth International Conference on Practice Research: overview

      Chin, Ci-Siou; Ciro, Diane; Fisher, Mike; Ji, Clara; Begum, Razwana; Rahim, Abdul; Lien. Ying; Kay-yu Wu, Florence; University of Bedfordshire (IASSW, 2017-10-09)
      This paper reports issues arising from the Fourth International Conference on Practice Research, held in Hong Kong in May 2017. The issues were identified by specially convened group of conference participants, and include the need to develop a better language to describe practice research in terms that make sense to practitioners, improved support for practitioners to conduct research, recognising the different drivers for practice research in different countries, and enhancing practitioners' coordinating and leadership roles.
    • 'If you can't beat them, be them!' - everyday experiences and 'performative agency' among undocumented migrant youth in South Africa

      Opfermann, Lena S.; Durham University (Taylor and Francis, 2019-07-22)
      This article explores the challenges and coping strategies of undocumented migrant youth in Cape Town, South Africa. Drawing on a theatre-based case study conducted with a core group of 10 participants the article shows firstly that participants’ lives are affected by emotional, legal and practical challenges such as loneliness, discrimination and fear. Secondly, the article develops the concept of ‘performative agency’ to illustrate how participants cope with and contest their challenges. Specifically, the article shows that the young people's theatrical performances draw on stereotypical notions of vulnerability and victimhood as a means to denounce the discrimination and oppression they experience. In public interactions with others, by contrast, the young migrants use performative agency to emphasise their strengths and positive attributes, thereby enhancing their integration in a hostile environment. The insights provided by this study can help strengthen policy responses to better support undocumented migrant youth in South Africa and elsewhere.