The Effective Social Worker

by Neil Thompson and Sue Thompson


Student focused (Virtual Social Work) Describes itself as a site for social work students and qualified social work technophobes. With its links, discussion forums and directions for adding your details to mailing lists, it is worth a look. (British Dyslexia Association) The aim of the BDA is to promote a dyslexia-friendly society. It seeks to educate and advise but also campaigns for changes that will promote inclusivity. This is a useful site both for students with dyslexia and those wanting to know more about the subject. (National Bureau for Students with Disabilities)This organization has been advising disabled students on matters relating to further and higher education for several decades now. This website reflects that role and also highlights campaigns seminars and publications about disability rights and other relevant issues. (SWAP Social Policy and Social Work Subject Centre) Here you will find a number of resources relating to social work placements and across a range of themes, including student and service user perspectives.

General This complements the weekly publication of the same name and provides access to up to date information on relevant news items and legal and policy developments. There is a facility for accessing articles published in Community Care over the last 10 years and also a directory of practice-focused discussion. For those seeking employment it also highlights job vacancies across the whole of the UK. This is the home page for the Health and Care Professions Council. It has links to information about registration, regulation, and continuous professional development but relates only to social work students and practitioners registered in England. Students and practitioners in WaIes should visit the Care Council for Wales's site ( for equivalent information, and those in Scotland the Scottish Social Services Council ( The Northern Ireland Social Care Council can be accessed at These organisations are the regulatory bodies for UK social work at the time of publication. As its name suggests, the main aim of The Social Care Institute for Excellence is to promote the highest possible standards in the social care field. It does so by disseminating knowledge about good practice. As such, then, this site is an excellent source of information on many topics in many forms - research papers, skills tutorials, government papers and so on – accessible via its free online search facility. See also (The National Association of Social Workers) This is a US-based organization and some of the content of this site may not be relevant to a UK student audience. Nevertheless, it gives a sense of a broader perspective and discusses relevant themes such as professional growth and maintaining standards. It also makes available abstracts of international journal articles. SWAP is the social work and social policy subject centre of the Higher Education Academy, which promotes good practice and research in assessment, teaching and learning. This site charts the organization’s presence at events linked with education and learning in social work. This is the online version of The Guardian newspaper’s weekly supplement, which can be useful for keeping up to date with news stories in fields such as health and social care, local government and community regeneration. Website for the largest association in the UK supporting professional social workers. Offers advice, support and information. While much of the latter is restricted to BASW subscribers, there is a facility for obtaining copies of some articles on a ‘pay per item’ basis, which some readers may find useful. This is an information site about public services in general and, as such, gives a useful overview. However, it has many sections that have particular relevance to social work including, for example, crime and justice, health and well-being and children and young people’s rights. Within these subdivisions there are also links to relevant organizations such as charities and government departments. The Social Policy Research Unit, based at the University of York, is involved in research into social policy and service delivery to vulnerable people. It is an excellent source for acquiring information on current research in a wide range of fields. Some research papers are downloadable and others available for purchase. The International Federation of Social Workers fosters international collaboration across a range of themes, particularly around issues of rights and social justice. In terms of exploring the wider context of social work this is an interesting site to visit. This site opens up access to statistics across a very wide spectrum and is therefore useful for setting the context in which individuals live out their lives. It allows for selecting a particular theme and included in those databases on offer are social/welfare, health and crime/justice The official website of The Social Policy Association. Those looking for links to the media and online journals should find this very helpful, especially given the range of academic publishers featured. The link to voluntary sector organizations is also a useful feature. The Joseph Rowntree Foundation operates to better understand and overcome social difficulties through its extensive research programme. Short summaries of the research undertaken are presented as Findings and these can be accessed through the search facility. Social work students should find the blogs and links pages very useful. Sponsored by the New Policy Institute and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, this site monitors social inclusion and poverty across the UK. Up to date statistics are available here and there are links to numerous relevant organizations and resources such as government departments, charities and research and policy bodies.

Children and young people This site explores the aims and activities of this organization which has a high profile in terms of campaigning around child abuse issues. Amongst other things, it details community-based projects, research, and the dissemination of information. There is a catalogue of up to date publications and also access to media briefings and updates on campaigns and policy debates. The Child Poverty Action Group’s website is a useful one to visit because it both highlights the extent of poverty amongst children and young people and explores strategies for combating it, including lobbying government and addressing welfare rights issues. The CPAG also has a range of publications, mostly around social policy and welfare rights matters. This is the website of the National Youth Agency which supports those involved in youth work. NYA publications can be accessed here and there is material about citizenship, inclusion and equality. As an umbrella organization, The British Youth Council is a coalition of many youth organizations whose common goal is to promote the rights of young people and to give them a voice. This site’s search facility points to relevant links. This is an internet-based childcare magazine which provides news updates, articles relating to a wide range of issues, regular features and also book reviews. As such, it can be a useful resource for students and practitioners operating in all aspects of childcare.

Diversity/anti-discriminatory practice The Commission for Equality and Human Rights is a non-departmental public body, covering England, Wales and Scotland, which brings under one body the work of the Commission for Racial Equality, the Equal Opportunities Commission and the Disability Rights Commission. Its purpose is to protect human rights, particularly by challenging inequality and discrimination (on the grounds of gender, disability, age, race, sexual orientation and religious belief) and to promote good relationships within a multicultural society. As such, it is well worth a visit in its own right and for its links to other sites. Mind works to challenge discrimination against, and promote the inclusion of, people experiencing mental health difficulties. This site informs of progress in terms of policy change and rights issues and highlights effective partnerships such as that with The Healthcare Commission, projects such as those particularly concerned with mental health in rural communities, and links to other sites. A wide-ranging site which provides up to date news about developments that might be of interest to older people and those who support them. For example there are updates on health initiatives, policy change, welfare benefits and so on. This organization supports research into, and lobbies against, discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation, promoting the rights of gay and bisexual men and women to equal opportunities. Details of research and campaigns around, for example, discrimination in the workplace, within the media, police and education systems are made available on this site. The National Autistic Society has been in existence in one form or another for over 40 years and uses its high profile to lobby on behalf of people with autism, raise public awareness and promote independence. This site contains a lot of information about autistic spectrum disorder and how it affects individuals and those who support them. The British Institute for Learning Disabilities advocates on behalf of, and works towards empowering, people with learning disabilities by influencing policymakers and highlighting good practice. This site has a large reference section, some of which is restricted to members, and also a bookshop featuring literature around this subject. This international site is organized by people with learning disabilities and highlights the organization’s aims, which include promoting independence and challenging negative stereotyping. The online bookshop stocks books covering a range of topics, including disability politics and disability and sexuality. Working in relation to England and Wales, this organization of disabled people promotes the social model of disability and, by promoting access to information and challenging discriminatory attitudes and practices, works to challenge some of the many barriers to inclusion that disabled people face. Its link section is well worth a look as it has a wide scope. The British Deaf Association website represents the Sign Language community and explains how the organization works to promote the rights of this linguistic minority to equality of opportunity in all aspects of life, particularly in terms of education and work. A national charity, this organization supports people with mental health needs in a variety of ways, including outreach and day services, advocacy, work-related and personal skills development, and carer support. This site gives further information on these aspects and also highlights its campaigning, research, education and publication elements. The UK Disabled People's Council supports a large number of groups run by disabled people throughout the UK. The organization promotes the message that it is social arrangements, rather than impairments, that disable people and uses this premise to lobby for changes in law and policy. As such, this site is a useful focus for debates and developments in this field.

Probation/youth justice NACRO works with individuals and communities towards crime reduction. This site has information relating to a range of issues, such as community safety and youth inclusion. As well as detailing how to access reports and guides, there are many discussion forums on topics such as substance misuse, women and offending, and race and the criminal justice system. This organization does not focus exclusively on youth justice issues but In line with its aim of helping young people to make the best of their lives, their has some useful resources and links that are relevant to youth justice Issues.

Loss and grief This site offers a gateway into a whole host of resources around the important topic of loss. In addition to its search facility it hosts discussion forums and has information on a huge range of associated topics and current debates at an international level. This excellent resource is well worth a visit. A US-based company, it has an extensive list of books which relate to supporting children, young people and adults through a range of losses. The books they stock are carefully reviewed by professionals in this field to ensure that they are up to date and relevant. An umbrella organization for issues relating to palliative care.