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Values and Ethics in Social Work

Values and Ethics in Social Work

Third Edition

April 2017 | 200 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
An awareness of one’s own ethical assumptions and how these inform everyday practice is crucial for all student social workers. Social workers who genuinely wish to do the right thing by their services users have no alternative but to constantly think and rethink the principles and assumptions that inform their actions, and this book supports them on their journey.

This Third Edition is set out in two parts:
  • Part I deals with broad ideas about values and ethics in general, looking at philosophy, religion and politics, as well as the duty of realism.
  • Part II takes the discussion further, looking at how these general principles are relevant to everyday practice, with chapters on the use and misuse of power, the idea of self-determination, and the challenges of working with people whose experience and outlook are different to one’s own.
What are Values and Ethics?
Moral Philosophy
Values and Religion
Values and Politics
Realism as an Ethical Principle
Being Professional
Uses and abuses of power
Risk and blame
Self-determination and privacy
Respect or oppression
Limited resources
Difference and diversity

My colleague used this text to underpin her course Values Ethics and Diversity in the F2F BA 1 Social Work module, which I have been converting to blended learning for the Social Work Apprenticeship Degree. The text is packed with 'everyday' examples of the kinds of issues which could (and do) influence poor decision making, even if they are subliminal. The book supports the student to gain a wide ranging knowledge and and understanding of values and ethics in theory and practice. In an era when Values and Ethics are frequently debased by financially led decisions, particularly in assessments, and social workers' mental health and their practice is being undermined by pressure to not identify service users needs because that then requires a service, which has to be funded, this book clearly sets out the fundamentals of what we as educators and practitioners should be placing centre stage and imbuing our students with the confidence to uphold core values and ethics in the profession.

Ms Linda Daley
School of Social Policy, Sociology & Social Research , University of Kent
April 28, 2020

A clear, succinct book that will support students in all areas of social care.

Ms Janine Marie Tall
Health & Social Care, Doncaster College And University Centre
October 11, 2019

Excellent and easy to follow the text in this book. The building on examples that have been introduced in easy to understand discussions is workwhile for students to learn about the aspects which they will encounter in their own experience building.

Mrs Eileen Mc Partland
Vocational Education, The Liberties College of Further Education
June 15, 2017

This is essential reading for every social work student. It is detailed, readable and thought provoking and I recommend this text above all others.

Ms Sally Riggall
School of Health & Social Care, Lincoln University
November 20, 2017

Sample Materials & Chapters

1. What are values and ethics?

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

Peter Jordan

Peter Jordan qualified as a social worker and worked with children and families in a variety of settings, including a Children’s Centre. He has been involved with teaching in Higher Education since 2006, first with the Open University and, since 2009, as a fulltime lecturer at the University of East Anglia. He has been involved in research about children’s views and experiences of the child protection process. His main research interests are in ethics in professional life and interprofessional working, but he is also interested in the ways that newly qualified workers manage their entry into the profession. Peter has a daughter and lives... More About Author