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Values and Ethics in Social Work

Values and Ethics in Social Work

Second Edition
Additional resources:

200 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd

What are my values? What are the values of others around me? What are the values and ethics of the social work profession?

An awareness of our own ethical assumptions, and how these inform our practice, is crucial for the student social worker.

The Second Edition of this bestselling book is now split into two parts. Part I considers the foundations of every person's values and provides a background to moral philosophy. Part II examines key ethical issues and how they determine practice, such as using power, allocating resources, treating others with respect and celebrating diversity.

For the Second Edition, two new chapters have been added to the book, on:

  • The political dimension in ethical decision making
  • Realism as a guiding ethical principle

Written in a uniquely straightforward style, everyday social work practice is the key focus throughout. Every chapter includes interactive exercises and case studies, challenging students to reflect on a range of practical dilemmas.

Preface to the Second Edition

What are Values and Ethics?
Moral Philosophy
Values and Religion
Values and Politics
Realism as an Ethical Principle
Being Professional
Power and Control
Self-Determination and Privacy
Respect versus Oppression
Ethics and Resources
Difference and Diversity



'A very promising second edition. I have used many parts of the first edition in my teaching and feel that the book has directly contributed to an increased understanding of the subject and higher assignment marks!' -
Lee Pollard, Sheffield Hallam University

The main advantage of this book is clarity and accessibility of the writing style. The authors are very honest in their writing, so students will find it easy to identify with them' -
Valeria Carroll, University of Lincoln

This is one of the core texts on values for social work undergraduates. Well written and easy to understand, accompanied by web support materials, it is an excellent addition to the field and a book I do not hesitate on recommending to my students.

Dr Robert J Hagan
Department of Sociology & Applied Social Studies, University of Ulster
July 22, 2016

This particular text has been used to support in the development of the ethics and values module on the social work programme. It has become a very useful text for both teaching staff and students. Students report that as a key text the book has been effective in supporting the taught sessions and provides case studies which are extremely useful for refection.

Miss Karylle Denisha Phillips
Social Work , New College Bromsgrove
January 11, 2016

Great accessible text with useful case study and accessible introductions to the main ethical perspectives.

Mr David Hambling
Faculty of Sport, Health & Social Care, Gloucestershire University
October 13, 2014

This is a first class text. It is well written, interesting and highly informative.

Ms Sally Riggall
Social Work (Hull), Lincoln University
October 1, 2014

A robust ethics text book which will support my student learning well.

Joy Gauci
Sociology Department, Worcester University
September 23, 2014

Excellent chapter (6) on being professional which I am going to use some of the exercises from. Excellent and very practical.

Mr Martin Harmer
Social Sciences & Law, University of Teesside
July 1, 2014

In my experience, students tend to struggle when considering questions of ethics, considering the subject matter to be intimidating and overwhelming. This text opens up this subject and offers the students the opportunity for deep learning within everyday examples.

The style of language used by Chris Beckett welcomes the reader into considerations of values and ethics within social work practice in a way that disarms the subject matter. Students using this book are enabled to access considerations of moral philosophy and realism which they may ordinarily only have the confidence to avoid.

Mr John Sturgeon
School of Social Sciences, University of the West of Scotland
May 29, 2014

Top class book - gives a different angle on this subject from the other standard texts as it's written with self-awareness made explicit.

Ms Elizabeth Lefroy
Social Work, Glyndwr University
February 26, 2014

Values and ethics can be a difficult topic for students to engage with; this text eases the process.

Ms Linda Martin
Management , Coventry University
February 22, 2014

Chris Beckett

Chris Beckett qualified as a social worker in the 1980s, and worked in the field for 18 years, first as a social worker and then as a manager, latterly as the manager of a children and families social work team.  Like most social workers who qualified at that time, he started out as a ‘generic’ social worker, working with a range of service users including children and families, old people, and people with mental health problems and disabilities, but his predominant area of work was with children and families.He moved into academic social work in 2000, working first at Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge and then at the... More About Author

Andrew Maynard