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Social Work Practice with Adults under the rising second wave of Covid-19 in England: frontline experiences and the use of professional judgement

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Jill Manthorpe, Jess Harris, Stan Burridge, James Fuller, Stephen Martineau, Bruno Ornelas, Michela Tinelli, Michelle Cornes

Original languageEnglish
Article numberbcab080
JournalBritish Journal of Social Work
Accepted/In press9 Apr 2021
Published11 May 2021

King's Authors


The impacts on adult social work in England of the Covid-19 pandemic were sudden and are proving long-standing. In England, many social workers moved to home working and virtual contact with colleagues, managers, staff from other agencies and service users. A first national lockdown was followed by a lessening of restrictions, but a second wave started at the end of Summer 2020 and restrictions were re-introduced. This study draws on telephone interviews with a sample of 22 social workers working with adults in a wide range of roles and settings in 10 local authorities and two NHS Hospital Trusts, interviewed August – October 2020. Following transcription, interview data were analysed thematically. Findings are reported under three emerging themes: using professional judgement; new and emerging case work, and embedding change. These are compared with findings from studies of practice in children’s services and of surveys of social workers during the Covid-19 pandemic. Implications for practice, service users, and research are explored.

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