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Unit information: Leadership and Management in Social Work in 2020/21

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Unit name Leadership and Management in Social Work
Unit code SPOLM0029
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Academic Year (weeks 1 - 52)
Unit director Ms. Mim Cartwright
Open unit status Not open




School/department School for Policy Studies
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law


The Unit is aimed at team managers within local authority children’s services and other social work staff within children’s services who provide professional supervision and/or are working towards taking on management responsibilities. It is designed to:

  • Develop students’ understanding of leadership and management in social care services for children and families, and of the factors that support effective team work
  • Examine best practice in relation to professional supervision
  • Support the development and improvement of leadership and management skills
  • Explore current theoretical ideas about innovation and change management, and their application to practice
  • Promote reflective practice and professional/organisational learning
  • Critically consider relevant current research knowledge to support ethical decision-making in complex childcare practice
  • Contribute to personal and professional development of both new and experienced team managers and supervisors

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of theories of management and leadership and relate these to their professional context
  • Critically evaluate different approaches to professional supervision and organise and implement appropriate supervision strategies
  • Critically appraise theories of organisational change and their application to practice
  • Demonstrate a critical understanding of factors that build and sustain effective team work
  • Critically reflect on the application of social work values within a management role

Teaching details

The unit will be delivered through blended learning over a two-week period. It will involve one day of in-person teaching if possible, as well as synchronous/ asynchronous learning via Blackboard. Activities will include narrated presentations, self-directed learning tasks, small group exercises and group discussions to support learning and application to practice.

Assessment Details

Assessment of the Unit will take place through:

  • A critical and reflective assignment (4000 words) analysing a small change project undertaken in the workplace. Confirmation of the work undertaken will be required from a suitably qualified practice assessor.

Reading and References

Gould, G. and Baldwin, M. (2004) Social work, Critical Reflection and the Learning Organisation. Aldershot: Ashgate.

Morrison, T. (2005) Staff Supervision in Social Care. Brighton: Pavillion Publishing.

Statham, D. (ed) (2004) Managing Front Line Practice in Social Care. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.