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Social Work History Network

SWHN Steering Group

The Steering Group of the Social Work History Network oversees the development of the Network and decides on topics for future meetings.

Joan Baraclough (co-founder) | Keith Bilton (co-founder) | Mike Burt | David N Jones (co-founder) | Ray Jones | Jill Manthorpe | Stephen Martineau | Terry Philpot | Barbara Prynn | Bridget Robb | June ThoburnSarah Vicary (co-ordinator) | Russell Whiting

Joan Baraclough







Keith Bilton

Keith-Bilton‘I was on Olive Stevenson's Oxford child care and probation course in 1962-63, and then, after a brief two and a half years as a Child Care Officer in Somerset, I found refuge in the Association of Child Care Officers as their first paid General Secretary, a job I enjoyed until 1970, when, together with the membership, I transferred to the newly-formed British Association of Social Workers, working, again enjoyably, as an Assistant General Secretary to Kenneth Brill until February 1973.

The developments of those years, and subsequent involvement with BASW, sparked my interest in social work history as it was happening, and thence in how we had got to where we were and where we might be heading. After emerging from 17 years of managerial work in a social services department, I had in the 1990s another engagement with child care history when I was asked to look into and report on allegations of ill-treatment in a private children's home which were said to have happened between 1964 and 1984.

In 2000, after attending a memorial event for Kay McDougall, David Jones and I discussed together, and later with Joan Baraclough, setting up a network for people interested in the history of social work and its possible relevance to current practice and policy issues. So here I am.'

Mike Burt

Mike Burt'After working in the youth service, prison service and at a community home with education I qualified in social work in 1988. My first post was at a schools’ psychological service following which I joined a long term children and families team. I became involved in supervising social work students and was appointed to a half time practice teacher post. My interest in the education and training of social workers led to my appointment as programme leader for a DipSW programme at Warrington Collegiate Institute in 2000. Following amalgamation with the University of Chester and expansion of qualifying and post qualifying programmes I retired as Deputy Head of Social Work in 2009. Since retirement I have been awarded a PhD for my thesis about the assessment role of social workers in local authorities 1950-1993. I have established a display of of archive materials, together with interpretation panels and timelines, covering the historical development of social work in the University of Chester, Riverside Museum.'

David N Jones

David N JonesDr David N Jones is a Registered Social Worker and one of the founders of the Social Work History Network in 2000. David retired from the bureaucracies in 2010 but continues to be actively involved in social work. He is Chair of the BASW International Committee and a Member of the BASW Council (2017-2019), a Past President of the International Federation of Social Workers (2006-10) and Global Coordinator of the Global Agenda for Social Work and Social Development. He is a Trustee of Children and Families Across Borders (CFAB), the UK partner of International Social Service. David was Chair of the Association of Independent LSCB Chairs (2014-2016) and has held a number of senior roles in national agencies, including the Audit Commission and Ofsted. He was a Professional Adviser in the Dept for Children, Schools and Families (2003-6) and Department of Health (2006) and General Secretary of BASW (1985-1994). His doctorate in social work (2009) explored evaluating quality in social services. He was a co-author of Management in Social Work (Palgrave) and editor of Understanding Child Abuse (Macmillan). He has published and advised on social work practice, social service management and children’s services in the UK and overseas and has documented the history of social work regulation in the UK for BASW. Follow David: @jonesdavidn

Ray Jones

RAY JONES (002)bDr. Ray Jones is Emeritus Professor of Social Work at Kingston University and St. George’s, University of London, and is a registered social worker. From 1992 to 2006 he was director of social services in Wiltshire. He was the first chief executive of the Social Care Institute for Excellence, and has been deputy chair and chair of the British Association of Social Workers. From 2008 to 2016 he was professor of social work at Kingston University and St George’s, University of London. He has been a visiting professor at the University of Exeter and at the University of Bath and is an honorary fellow of the University of Gloucestershire.He has led inquiries following the deaths of children and adults, from 2009 to 2013 was chair of Bristol’s Safeguarding Children Board, and from 2010 until 2016 oversaw child protection improvement in Salford, Torbay, the Isle of Wight, Sandwell and Devon.

His most recent book, ‘The Story of Baby P: Setting the Record Straight’, was published in July 2014, has had three re-prints, and a second up-dated and expanded edition was published in February 2017. He is now mid-stream on writing two books: one on ‘The Privatisation of Social Work and Social Services’ and a book on ‘The History of the Personal Social Services’. He is frequently distracted, however, by his television, radio and print press media activities as a commentator and columnist on social policy, social work and on child protection, and in the past year has given written and oral evidence to several Parliamentary Select Committees and to All Party Parliamentary Groups.

Jill Manthorpe

Jill Manthorpe 2015Jill is Director of the NIHR Health & Social Care Workforce Research Unit at King’s College London where she is Professor of Social Work. As well as working on a wide array of research studies funded by the Department of Health, and also by the National Institute for Health Research, she is involved in advisory work for the Department of Health and Social Care on several subjects and works closely with several social care employers to link research and practice. She travels widely in the UK to speak with local and regional networks involving both service users and practitioners. Jill is a Trustee of the Centre for Policy on Ageing and Patron of the Greater London Forum of Older People.

Barbara Prynn

‘I trained originally as a psychiatric social worker, and worked in a family therapy centre, a mental health department and a psychiatric unit in a general hospital, before teaching on a social work course. After that I worked as a medical social worker before moving into fostering and adoption, where I have spent most of my career.

I worked in a family placement service, concentrating on adoption, before moving into the field of post-adoption work with adopted adults and their birth families, where I still do some work. I have also taught on MA courses at the Tavistock Centre and am a member of the Adoption and Fostering Workshop there.

I have contributed a number of articles to social work journals and books, and my PhD thesis, entitled 'Family Building in Adoption' was an examination of the qualities within adoptive parents which make for positive or negative outcome.’

Bridget Robb

BridgetRobbBridget qualified as a social worker in 1975, working in Nottinghamshire and later Oxfordshire local authorities. Her practice led her from mental health to child protection to fostering and adoption. Her over-riding passion has been teaching and learning—with staff and students in the workplace—to lecturing at Coventry Polytechnic and Oxford Brookes University where she was head of the social work department. She has represented the profession on successive national training bodies since the 1980s, and is currently a Fellow with Skills for Care.

Bridget was CEO of the British Association of Social Workers and General Secretary of the Social Workers Union until she retired in 2016. She is now working with the Social Workers' Benevolent Trust and with safeguarding in the Church of England.

June Thoburn

June ThoburnProfessor June Thoburn qualified as a social worker in 1963 and worked in local authority child and family social work and generic practice in England and Canada before taking up a joint appointment (with Norfolk County Council) at UEA in 1979. As founding Director of the Centre for Research on the Child and Family and of the Making Research Count collaboration, she has a particular interest in finding innovative ways of helping social workers to make appropriate use of knowledge from a range of sources in their practice, a recent major interest is in international child welfare. She is currently a special advisor to CAFCASS and Chair of the Norfolk Family Justice Board. She was awarded the CBE ‘for services to social work’ in 2002. Follow: @Junethobu

Sarah Vicary (Co-ordinator)

Sarah Vicary dSarah is a qualified, registered social worker. She has worked extensively in Adult Social Services, primarily within mental health, practising as an Approved Social Worker and senior manager in an inner city multi-disciplinary setting. Sarah was for nine years an Area Commissioner for the Mental Health Act Commission. Currently, she heads the Social Work Degree programme for the Open University in the North West of England and in Yorkshire.

Sarah has edited a number of social work textbooks including Professional development in social work: complex issues in practice (2011), from Routledge. She has completed a part-time PhD in Social Work at the University of Manchester, investigating the role and experiences of the Approved Mental Health Professional and has edited a book on this role, Approved Mental Health Practice: essential themes for students and practitioners, from Palgrave Macmillan (published in April, 2014). Follow Sarah on Twitter: @sao_sarah


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