I have been a social work academic for over 30 years and before that was a practicing social worker in Birmingham in the 1970s. Working at Coventry University I taught on social work qualifying and post-qualifying courses, as well as on undergraduate and post-graduate courses for a range of professions and social science disciplines. I led social work, applied social science and health studies departments. I established the Centre for Social Justice. I was Vice Chair of the Joint University Council Social Work Education Committee; led the writing of a long term strategy for social work research and contributed to the development of the discipline of social work at a national level in a variety of ways. I co-founded the international Social Work and Health Inequalities Network which has over 350 members in over 25 countries and co-wrote the health policy of the International Federation of Social Workers. Since retiring from full time work I have been developing research on child welfare inequalities. I have published 5 books and over 50 peer reviewed articles and book chapters. I am now employed as Professor of Social Work by Huddersfield University and have an honorary research fellowship with the University of Sheffield.
Research Expertise and Interests
I have a long term interest in studying the relationships between social inequalities and social work. For many years this focussed on health inequalities and I co-founded the Social Work and Health Inequalities Network. In recent years I have drawn on that background to develop the study of child welfare inequalities in the UK and internationally. I have led a series of research projects funded by the Nuffield Foundation and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation which have examined inequalities in parents' and children's chances of involvement with children's social work services, their experiences of those services and the resultant outcomes. We have conducted studies comparing the four UK countries and local authorities within each of those countries. This has led to further work on local authority expenditure, inspection regimes, social work practice and parents' perceptions of services.