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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 to do just that.

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

Without hesitation, I have recommended previous editions of this text to undergraduate students on the social work course.  It is a highly readable and accessible text, focusing upon core concepts that should be intrinsic to every social work practitioner.  All authors are candid and reflect well on their professional experiences as well as giving a good overview on topics such as the development of values and power.  I also really valued the chapters examining philosophy and religious beliefs; the latter, in particular, is often missing from texts on values and ethics and yet remains core to many practitioners and those with whom they work.

Robert Hagan
Lecturer in Social Work, Keele University

Values and ethics in Social Work’ is an essential source for student social workers. Its clarity and accessibility make it an invaluable learning source.

Brendan Wood
Senior Lecturer, Sheffield Hallam

This is an accessible and well-structured read. Whilst having 'social work' in the title, this book is aimed at a broad audience of social policy, social science, social care as well as social work students and practitioners. It is an up-to-date book, encouraging reflection and analysis, for students and practitioners .

Adam Barnard
Senior Lecturer in Health and Social Care, Nottingham Trent University

Excellent book which I've recommended as main text book on the subject.

Ms maria marrinan
Social Work, University of Suffolk
January 23, 2024

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?