Leadership and Management

Law and Social Policy in Social Work

Tilia Lenz
24th January 2024

On the 23rd January 2024 I was privileged to teach the Step Up to Social Work students at Bournemouth University.

I am the unit lead for Law and Social Policy and aim to make the sessions as practice relevant as possible. The students have ten taught sessions on the subject of legislation for Social Work and its application to prepare them for their placements. The main focus is to build a foundation and understanding how law and social policy interact with each other and how it guides decision making for children, families and vulnerable people. 

In this particular session, I have been able to draw on the expertise of civil servants from the Ministry of Justice who are working in a small team of policy makers. The group is researching, analysing and recommending actions to reduce the backlog in the family court system: a very topical issue for Social Workers! 

The team offered insights into the practical tasks for social policy making and we discussed the challenges of bias and impartiality as the civil servants are required to put their own opinions behind and offer evidence and analysis to ministers to make decisions. We had a lively debate how this correlates with Social Work in the courts, where practitioners have to give evidence to the judge and weigh up options for permanency for children. 

The students were asked about their confidence in legal decision making at this very early stage of their learning journey. This was very important for the Ministry of Justice team to explore as Social Worker confidence had been identified as one of the main issues in Family Care Proceedings- to be in court and be cross examined can be daunting at the best of times. To enable practitioners to grow such skills and be prepared to advocate for children, families and vulnerable people in such an environment is part of the learning journey.  

A huge thank you to the MoJ team and the Step Up to Social Work students for being part of this session!  

Meet the author(s)

Tilia Lenz

Senior Lecturer Social Work and CPD Framework Social Sciences. (She/her)
Tilia is a Senior Lecturer for Social Work and the CPD Framework lead for Social Sciences. She is a qualified Social Pedagogue and registered Social Worker and spent 15 years in front line Children’s Services as a practitioner and manager. She undertook her MA studies in Managing and Developing Services in Health and Social Care at BU with the focus on Organisational Cultures and Staff Performance. She is now undertaking research for her PhD on ‘Relationship Performance Management in Child Protection’. She has a particular interest in practitioner wellbeing and resilience.
View full profile
NCCDSW © 2024. All Rights Reserved | Privacy Policy
Website Design Dorset - Good Design Works
Skip to content