Professional Decision Making in Social Work

Research output: Book/ReportBookpeer-review


Many social workers face daily pressure to make sound decisions in very difficult circumstances, occasionally having to manage impossible expectations. Politicians and the media may spotlight care decisions where a tragedy or complaint occurs. In this complex arena of conflicting demands and considerations – from the public, the client, the family, the organisation – the professional needs a robust and yet flexible framework to inform practice decisions. This book is written to help social work practitioners and students make professional decisions with clients; from exercising statutory powers and duties to protect children from abuse, to making decisions about risk.Contents: • Introduction • Roles, concepts and frameworks for decision making • Crises, emotions and supporting client decision making • Consent, human rights and reasonable decisions in law • Collaborative and contested decisions • Professional judgement, bias and using knowledge • Safeguarding judgements and predicting harm • Taking risks: values, gains and hazards • Assessment tools and decision support systems • Dynamic decision making and care decision pathways • Managing decisions: support, blame and learning • Conclusion
Original languageEnglish
PublisherLearning Matters
Number of pages185
ISBN (Print)ISBN: 9781844453597
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - Mar 2010


  • decision making
  • social work
  • crisis
  • risk
  • assessment
  • prediction
  • negligence
  • professional judgement
  • care decision pathway.


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