Social work admissions : applicants with criminal convictions - the challenge of ethical risk assessment

NELSON, P. and COWBURN, M. (2010). Social work admissions : applicants with criminal convictions - the challenge of ethical risk assessment. The British journal of social work, 40 (4), 1081-1099.

Nelson_Social_Work_Admissions.pdf - Accepted Version
All rights reserved.

Download (192kB) | Preview
Link to published version::


The decision to admit an ex-offender to social work training may play a part in combating the social exclusion of people who have committed criminal offences, but it may also knowingly place social work service users and carers in positions of increased vulnerability. This paper brings together critical perspectives on both the nature of risk and ethical decision making in the context of social work admissions of applicants with criminal convictions. It locates the concepts of risk and risk assessment within General Social Care Council (GSCC) guidance. The epistemological assumptions underpinning risk assessments are explored and the differences in psychological and sociological approaches to understanding risk are outlined. However, decisions to admit or reject an ex-offender involve ethical and moral judgements. The contribution of ethical thinking to decision making, in relation the admission of ex-offenders, to social work training is described. The paper concludes by suggesting that social work admissions procedures need to be informed by: an explicit epistemological standpoint, transparent risk assessment procedures and clearly articulated ethical thinking.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Published in The British journal of social work advance access 1 March 2010
Uncontrolled Keywords: social work training, ex-offfenders, risk assessment, social exclusion
Research Institute, Centre or Group - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Hallam Centre for Community Justice
Identification Number:
Page Range: 1081-1099
Depositing User: Caroline Fixter
Date Deposited: 19 Mar 2010 13:53
Last Modified: 18 Mar 2021 07:54

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics