Collaboration in Social Work Practice

Collaboration in Social Work Practice

Collaboration in Social Work Practice

Collaboration in Social Work Practice


Social workers preparing for cooperative practice with carers and other professionals should find this work to be a source of knowledge for effective collaboration. It explains how health and social care organizations can function together in line with developments in policy and practice.


Collaboration in Social Work Practice argues that collaboration between professionals and with service users and carers is essential to the successful delivery of care services. The contributing authors, writing about care delivered in different contexts, take a positive approach but they also identify continued problems in achieving collaboration, despite myriad government policies, procedures and new forms of organization.

The urgency of addressing these problems is powerfully illustrated by two reports which appeared early in 2003, as Collaboration in Social Work Practice went to press. One, the report on The Victoria Climbié Inquiry, described in graphic detail the numerous breakdowns in communication within and between agencies in their failure to prevent the death of a young child (Laming 2003).

The other, written with contributions from people with learning disabilities, highlights some of the difficulties in achieving genuine involvement of service users. The White Paper Valuing People had advocated effective partnerships involving people with learning disabilities and their families as being 'key to social inclusion' (DoH 2001, p.106). Yet the First Annual Report of the Learning Disability Task Force (DoH 2003) says that the new partnership boards had found it difficult to include people with learning disabilities and 'the message [nothing about us without us] has not got through to most of Government outside those working with Disability' (DoH 2003, p.2).

Collaboration in Social Work Practice has been written primarily for social workers, and draws in particular on examples from social care and health, but its contents will be relevant to all who work in care services and at their interface. Each chapter offers both analysis and good practice guidance.

Part I, comprising Chapters 1 to 4, provides the policy, conceptual and ethical contexts for the seven chapters in Part II which focus on aspects of collaboration in practice. Key themes such as service-user and carer involvement, social inclusion, interprofessional relationships, barriers to effective collaboration, policies, structures, procedures and methods for collaboration, and interprofessional shared learning are introduced in Part I and exemplified in different settings in Part II.

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