Journal Article

Important Yet Ignored: Problems of ‘Expertise’ in Emergency Duty Social Work

Derek Clifford and Glen Williams

in The British Journal of Social Work

Published on behalf of British Association of Social Workers

Volume 32, issue 2, pages 201-215
Published in print March 2002 | ISSN: 0045-3102
Published online March 2002 | e-ISSN: 1468-263X | DOI:
Important Yet Ignored: Problems of ‘Expertise’ in Emergency Duty Social Work

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This paper deals with the important role that emergency duty workers play in respect of the variety of situations that are referred to them outside of the normal working hours of social services departments. The first section presents some interim outcomes of ongoing research suggesting that the variability of priorities and assessments made by such workers is even greater than might be intuitively expected. The paper questions whether conventional expectations of social work assessment are applicable in circumstances that are radically different from day‐time work. In the second section, the paper explores the evident moral dilemmas contained in these circumstances, highlighting the need for workers to have internalized as ‘expert’ as broad a grasp as possible of the diversity of values and methods of social assessment, decision‐making and intervention. The paper continues by considering the nature of expert methods suitable for the demands of emergency duty work, the need for guidelines for professional judgement, and an appropriate generic framework.

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Social Work

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