Managing uncertainty and change in social work and social care
By Ken Johnson and Isabel Williams

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This book can be of help to anyone, at any level, within a social work or social care setting who wants to reflect on how they can effectively manage their own practice - and, where appropriate, manage that done by others - amidst the various uncertainties and changes that are an integral part of contemporary social work and social care:
  • For practitioners and first time managers in social work and social care it outlines ways of successfully grappling with the challenges and demands of service delivery
  • For senior managers, researchers and policy-makers - people with responsibility for shaping services - it provides insight into the day-to-day task of the workforce
  • For social work and social care students it offers an introduction to the realities of practice
  • For lecturers and trainers it provides detailed and invaluable teaching and resource material.

  • It sets the context of uncertainty - for individuals and teams - by examining the impact of factors that may seem many miles away from practice… legislation, government guidance and expectation, organisational change, the globalised economy and demographic change. It shows how being able to cope with external change is a skill that all social workers must understand and refine, regardless of where they work. It challenges the historical separation of practice and management and puts forward the view that it is necessary to understand and utilise the underlying principles of both in order to provide a service in the most effective way. It brings to life the art and science of managing uncertainty and changing situations in ways that bridge this traditional gap.

    The explanatory and reflective text is interspersed with dialogue and discussion, numerous activities and exercises. Combining practice and theory it allows practitioners and managers to use strategies, traditionally regarded as the province of management, in order to enhance their role. These strategies encompass understanding the external world, how it impacts on organisations and, in turn, on their teams and on themselves as individuals.

    Eight chapters follow a coherent and logical process of looking at the impact of external change in different contexts of practice. Each chapter first considers what it is that is driving change in that particular context and then clearly and simply relates this to practice opportunities and challenges. The chapters are interwoven with exercises that can be completed within a group, team, organisation or classroom setting, or as individual reference points.

    In their conclusion Johnson and Williams consider a vision for the future, in which the knowledge and skills of practitioners and managers can contribute, more fully and more positively, to the changing nature and setting of the services delivered by social work and social care practitioners and managers.

    Paperback. 144 pages. 978-1-905541-07-2. Published 2007. £17.95


    Social work and social care: students, lecturers, practitioners and managers.


    The challenge and dilemmas of change
    Unravelling the concepts of management
    Managing in different environments
    The influence of policy
    Professional identity and the context of change
    Managing performance
    Developing the professional through motivation, communication and supervision
    The influence of self: towards a new reality?


    Ken Johnson and Isabel Williams have both social work and management qualifications and are Senior Lecturers in the Social Work and Social Care Department, Institute of Health and Social Care, Anglia Ruskin University. They have many years experience of working within the public sector and social work settings at practitioner and manager levels.


    "This book aims to assist social care staff to understand the factors that lead to change and uncertainty, to reflect on their personal and professional reactions and experiences and to develop skills and approaches to tackle change in a positive and constructive manner… is an approachable read. The authors are two experienced social work practitioners who now work at Anglia Ruskin University. Their practical knowledge of the challenges faced at all levels of a social care organisation is evident throughout the book, and is combined with considerable referencing to academic research and policy documents. They have woven individual and group exercises throughout the book to bring theoretical concepts to life and help the reader to apply within their own context…. This book addresses an issue of relevance to everyone working in the social care field and contains many interesting and insightful reflections." Health and Social Care in the Community.