Centre for Social Work Practice

Our vision, mission, aims and values

Our Vision:

Our vision is for the foundation of all social work practice, policy and education to be fundamentally rooted in an understanding of the significance of the relationships between people who use social work services and those that provide them.

Our mission:

Our mission is to provide of a wide range of opportunities for practitioners, managers, educators, academics and organisations to explore and deepen their understanding of relationship based social work, to enable it to be the core driver for practice.

Our aims:

  1. To provide a variety of accessible forums to enable the development of competence and creativity in relationship-based social work practice;
  2. To provide high quality educational resources that explore, explain and enable the implementation of relationship based social work practice;
  3. To promote and encourage practice based scholarship and publication;
  4. To link to and work with other organisations who are aligned with relationship based social work;
  5. To support the development of a new generation of RBP trained and experienced practitioners, educators and researchers;
  6. To advocate for relationship based social work in appropriate policy forums and by questioning and critiquing those trends that work for and against it, and by mobilising our members to do the same.

Our Values:

There are many ways to understand ‘values’, so to clarify, we draw on Sarah Banks who says

“The term social work values refers to a range of beliefs about what is regarded as worthy or valuable in a social work context – general beliefs about the nature of the good society, general principles about how to achieve this through actions, and the desirable qualities or character traits of professional practitioners.” (Banks, 20121)

At CfSWP, relationship based social work practice is rooted in the core values of:

  • Respect for the equality, humanity, dignity, and rights of all those who use and work in or with social work services;
  • Empowerment of those who need and use social work services;
  • Empathy, understanding and a non-judgmental attitude in working with those who face serious challenges in their lives and circumstances.

These values form the roots of relationship based social work, from which other important but perhaps less tangible, values, behaviours, principles and ethics (such as collaboration, reflection, creativity, integrity) can inform and shape practice. CfSWP also recognises that without good methodologies for engaging and working with people, a commitment to value positions may be empty. Equally, without a strong value base, good practice methodologies may be blind to the complexities and impact of power differentials in the lives of service users and professionals. Values, theories and methodologies must work together for effective social work practice to thrive.

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