Social workers in multidisciplinary teams: issues and dilemmas for professional practice

Child & Family Social Work (Impact Factor: 0.93). 07/2005; 10(3):187 - 196. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2206.2005.00370.x

ABSTRACT This paper draws on the findings of a project, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council of the UK, examining how child and family multidisciplinary teams learn and work together. It outlines the approach taken by the research team before going on to explore New Labour policy around ‘joined-up thinking’. The paper focuses on the role of social workers in the teams and uses qualitative data to explore the experience of social workers in relation to four key issues: models of professional practice, status and power, confidentiality and information sharing, and relations with external agencies. We argue that these are complex and contested issues that are challenging for the workers concerned. We conclude that whilst joined-up working is complex and demanding, social work is well situated to meet the challenge, and that social workers in multidisciplinary teams are committed to making them work.