I4P co-sponsored a very successful public event on the direction of statutory child and family social work on 27th February 2018.

Almost 200 people booked to hear Dr Ray Jones (Kingston and St George’s University London, and recent recipient of Outstanding Contribution to Social Work award 2017) outline and critique some of the recent trends in statutory child and family social work practice and the direction of and rationale for reform. Fearless as always, Dr Jones delivered a thought-provoking and timely analysis of some of the key opportunities and threats facing social work with children and families and their implications for social work organisations, practitioners and education.

Dr Jones was joined at the podium by Tracy Overs (Principal Social Worker) and Anna Howard (Social Worker) who further elucidated the challenges facing statutory social work by drawing on their experience of front line local authority practice, reminding us all of the potential of social work to make a difference and the value of effective practice in protecting children and supporting families.

The event drew interest from across the north of England and the audience of social workers, social work managers, social work student, social work academics and others, working both in statutory and voluntary services bore testament to the value of bringing the worlds of practice and academia together to contribute to and be supported by each other in thinking about and responding to complex and demanding areas of professional practice. A lively discussion followed the presentations that ended only when the audience faced the risk of being locked in for the night.

Nigel Kelleher is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Social Work at Edge Hill University.