Working in Statutory Contexts
Working in Statutory Contexts
Doing social work in a statutory setting is a challenge that all social workers will face. Social workers are required to work with people who don’t necessarily want their help and who may be antagonistic or even hostile. In such cases, social workers must use their statutory powers with confidence and work effectively within the constraints of procedure and the law.


This thoughtful and practical book focuses on the universal skills that are needed to do this important kind of social work, and to do it well. Drawing on social work’s diverse knowledge base through extensive examples and case studies, Andrew Hill illustrates key skills in practice, such as responding to threats of violence and aggression, giving evidence in court, report writing, and coping with emotional issues. As well as promoting practical skills, the book underlines the importance of working as a reflective practitioner. It carefully outlines a framework for understanding the place of statutory work and how this may be consistent with empowerment and anti-oppressive practice, and with the straightforward desire to help others that brings people into social work in the first place.


This book is relevant to all social work settings including mental health, community care, youth justice, and child protection. It will be essential reading for social work students and newly qualified social workers who are facing up to the realities of social work in statutory settings for the first time.

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  • May 2010
  • 200 pages
  • 160 x 237 mm / 6 x 9 in
Available Formats
  • Hardback $72.75
  • 9780745642697
  • Paperback $26.00
  • 9780745642703
Table of Contents

Analytic Contents viii

List of Summaries of Skills xiii

Acknowledgements xv

Introduction 1

Part I Context 7

Chapter 1 Legal and Organizational Context 9

The Legal Context 9

The Organizational Context 18

Pressures on Organizations with Statutory Functions 22

Further Reading 28

Answers to Exercise 1.1 28

Chapter 2 Aims and Ethics 30

The Aims of Social Work 32

Social Work Values 35

The Goals and Values of Social Work in Statutory Contexts 38

Anti-Oppressive Practice 41

Anti-Oppressive Practice in Statutory Contexts 45

The Influence of Postmodernism 47

Conclusion 50

Further Reading 51

Part II Skills 53

Chapter 3 Skills for Working in Organizations 55

Skills for Making Use of Supervision 55

Skills for Using Procedures 64

Conclusion 67

Further Reading 67

Chapter 4 Skills for Engaging with People 69

Skills for Establishing the Mandate for the Work 69

Respecting Human Rights 77

Building Partnerships 81

Communicating with Children 85

Dealing with Violence, Threats and Intimidation 90

Conclusion 93

Further Reading 94

Chapter 5 Skills for Assessing and Planning 95

Setting Up Assessments 97

Recording Information 105

Making Sense of Information: Using Formal Assessment Tools 108

Working with Other Professionals 113

Conclusion 116

Further Reading 116

Chapter 6 Skills for Court Work 118

Working with Legal Advice 119

Preparing Reports for Court 124

Negotiating with Other Parties to the Proceedings 131

Giving Oral Evidence 134

Managing Relationships with Service Users during and after Proceedings 136

Conclusion 138

Further Reading 138

Chapter 7 Skills for Promoting Change 139

Motivation to Change 141

Negotiating over Interventions 148

Thinking Systemically 154

Conclusion 157

Further Reading 157

Chapter 8 Ending, Evaluating and Reflective Practice 158

Skills for Managing Endings 159

Skills for Evaluation 163

Skills for Reflective Practice 169

Conclusion 178

Further Reading 179

Appendix: National Occupational Standards for Social Work 180

References 183

Index 193

About the Author
Andrew Hill, Lecturer in Social Work, University of York
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'Students will find this book highly accessible. Hill writes in a clear style and the use of case studies is excellent. I can certainly envisage this book being used widely.'
Geraldine Macdonald, Queen's University, Belfast

'This is an excellent book and should be compulsory reading for social work students. It is clearly written, sensitively related to social work practice, with some first-rate examples; above all, it really 'speaks' to the realities of contemporary statutory professional practice in the twenty-first century. Andrew Hill has written a thorough but readable text for students which they will find useful at any stage in their qualification degree.'
David Shemmings, University of Kent
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