Current Projects


Mothers of children removed under a care order: outcomes and experiences

This British Academy funded research examines the experiences and outcomes of mothers, whose children have been subject to care orders under the Children Act 1989. The research specifically examines the difficult issue of continuing parental involvement in the child’s life once the child is living in care. In particular it illuminates the mother’s experience of post care relationships with the child, in a climate where a greater proportion of children looked after under a care order are being placed for adoption, contact up to the child reaching majority may  have been restricted or terminated. It  explores the mother’s perceptions of any long term harm (for the mother) arising from the changing nature of their involvement in the child’s life. It also examines the mothers’ circumstances and changing needs, including situations when the child has sought some form of reconciliation with the mother.

Project team: Jane Boylan, Alison Brammer, and Vanessa Richardson


Social Work Law and Practice Education

This project will focus on the role of the practice educator in supervising experiential learning of social work law for social work students within practice placements.  It examines the interface between social work students understanding of law (based on classroom learning) and its application within a practice context, in particular it examines the role of the practice educator in supporting, enabling and assessing students in relation to social work law.  This is a pivotal element of social work education and requires Practice Educators themselves to be equipped with relevant up to date knowledge and understanding of social work law and its application to diverse practice situations.

Key areas of inquiry are:

  • The interface between social work law and practice
  • How confident practice educators feel about their knowledge of social work law in the context of supervision
  • Development needs of practice educators
  • The application of social work law in diverse settings

Findings from the project will be presented at the European Social Work Research Association National Conference, 'Promoting experiential learning of social work law' in Ljubljana, Slovenia (April 2015) and at the European Association of Schools of Social Work Conference, Milan, Italy (July 2015).

Project team: Alison Brammer and Jane Boylan


The role of the local authority lawyer in multi - agency safeguarding adults practice

This interview based  study focuses on a particular professional group, namely, lawyers (solicitors or barristers) employed in local authorities with social services responsibilities working with an adults services / safeguarding adults caseload

The aim of the study is to gain understanding of the range of legal casework of the local authority lawyer and of the involvement of the lawyer in multi-agency safeguarding adults practice, to contribute to greater knowledge and understanding of a developing area of legal practice.

Key areas of inquiry include:

  • How lawyers define their area of specialism
  • Organisation of  and access to legal services for safeguarding adults work at the local authority
  • Main areas of legal advice and casework interventions by the local authority
  • How adult abuse cases are conceptualised as legal issues
  • Professional relationship with social workers on adult safeguarding cases
  • Involvement in multi agency arena, presence at multi agency forums

Project lead: Alison Brammer