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Unit information: Leadership and Management in Social Work in 2015/16

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Unit name Leadership and Management in Social Work
Unit code SPOLM0029
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Academic Year (weeks 1 - 52)
Unit director Dr. Turney
Open unit status Not open




School/department School for Policy Studies
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law


The Unit is aimed at team managers within local authority children’s services and other social work staff within children’s services who provide professional supervision and/or are working towards taking on management responsibilities. It is designed to:

  • Develop students’ understanding of leadership and management in social care services for children and families, and of the factors that support effective team work
  • Examine best practice in relation to professional supervision
  • Support the development and improvement of leadership and management skills
  • Explore current theoretical ideas about innovation and change management, and their application to practice
  • Promote reflective practice and professional/organisational learning
  • Critically consider relevant current research knowledge to support ethical decision-making in complex childcare practice
  • Contribute to personal and professional development of both new and experienced team managers and supervisors

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of theories of management and leadership and relate these to their professional context
  • Critically evaluate different approaches to professional supervision and organise and implement appropriate supervision strategies
  • Critically appraise theories of organisational change and their application to practice
  • Demonstrate a critical understanding of factors that build and sustain effective team work
  • Critically reflect on the application of social work values within a management role

Teaching details

Teaching will take place in 1.5 hour sessions, normally over a 3 day block with a further re-call day. The unit will combine lectures/workshops, seminar discussion and practical exercises

Assessment Details

Assessment of the Unit will take place through:

  • A critical and reflective assignment (3500-4000 words) supported by documentary evidence from the practice context and
  • Assessment through observation by an appropriate practice assessor of a relevant aspect of the student’s practice; this assessment will be, based on criteria linked to the Professional Capabilities Framework.

The assignment will be marked and graded. The observation of practice will be assessed on a Pass/Fail basis; all practice-based elements of the assessment are must-pass but zero-weighted. Both pieces of work must be passed to gain the credit points for the Unit.

Reading and References

Gould, G. and Baldwin, M. (2004) Social work, Critical Reflection and the Learning Organisation. Aldershot: Ashgate.

Morrison, T. (2005) Staff Supervision in Social Care. Brighton: Pavillion Publishing.

Statham, D. (ed) (2004) Managing Front Line Practice in Social Care. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.