You are here

Policy and Social Work Practice

Policy and Social Work Practice

Edited by:

November 2015 | 192 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
Social policy is central to social work practice. This textbook is designed to help students, practitioners and academics think critically about the relationship between policy and practice; particularly in how policy both structures and informs practice. Reflective questions help critical thinking and links to websites of substantive information across the UK and internationally  help keep you up-to-date with policy developments.


The authors' experience and skills in working with different service user groups combine to provide a constructive and critical approach to working with social policy in an era of welfare retrenchment.

Key topics include: discretion and practice; social work training and education; safeguarding children; responses to the needs of looked after children; personalization in adult care; ’race’ and welfare policy; domestic violence; mental health and capacity; and comparing social work and social care internationally.

Social Work and Policy Introduction
Discretion in the history and development of social work
Social Work Education and Training as a policy issue
Prevention and protection: the development of safeguarding in children's services
Children like ours? Policy and practice responses to children looked after
Mental capacity and social policy
Social welfare policy in racialised contexts
International social work: understanding social work within social policy systems
Domestic Violence: UK and Australian developments
Local policy in a global context: regimes of risk in mental health policy and practice - the community treatment orders
Concluding thoughts: the interface between social policy and social work

Policy and Social Work Practice (Eds. Tony Evans and Frank Keating) is a well-timed contribution to the social work literature. Arriving at a time when the depletion of social work services within the politics of austerity is underscored by a construction of a profession in disarray, this important book reminds us of the historical, social and policy contexts from which social work draws its mandate. As Tony Evans, in his introduction points out ‘social policy is in the DNA of social work’ and if, as he also argues, social policy is the organised response to societal problems, then a book that critically re-examines the links between politics, policy and practice in a period of increasing poverty, inequality and vulnerability could not be more valuable. Tracing developments in social work education, children’s services, children in state care and, adult social care, issues of rights and citizenship emerge as central to several of the book’s chapters while Keating’s chapter on attitudes to racial equality and immigration, reasserts the role of social work in achieving social justice. The book begins with a historical discussion of social work as located within the UK but later explores policy and practice in the international arena. This leads on two final chapters which provide cross-country insights in the areas of domestic violence and, mental health. In a nutshell, this is the book’s strength – its ability to chart the history of social work practice within a changing social policy landscape while providing a valuable resource for contemporary social work across a range of theoretical, geographical and practice borders.

Professor Adele Jones
University of Huddersfield

This book explores  in a really thoughtful and accessible way the vital but curiously neglected subject of the relationship between social policy and social work. It contains contributions from highly respected national and international scholars and is a really strong contribution to this area of study. 

Brigid Featherstone
The Open University

This book has an excellent theme of the relationship between policy and social work and, as such, fills a much-needed space in the process of knowledge acquisition for social work and social policy students.

Courtney James
The British Journal of Social Work

This book is a good introduction to social policy and its links to social work.

Miss Meldene Elder
Social Work Department, Havering College of Further and Higher Education
September 6, 2021

Sage College Publishing

You can purchase or sample this product on our Sage College Publishing site:

Go To College Site

This title is also available on SAGE Knowledge, the ultimate social sciences online library. If your library doesn’t have access, ask your librarian to start a trial.