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Studying social work law

Updated Tuesday, 1st November 2022

This set of four free courses introduces the role of social work and explores how the law influences social work practice. You will learn the role of social workers in the UK and how the profession is regulated across the four nations. The courses also examine how the law is applied by social workers in their practice with the people they support. 


The four OpenLearn courses, which will each build your knowledge of the law and social work are:

  • An introduction to social work law
  • Social work law and UK regulation
  • Applying social work law to children and families
  • Applying social work law to asylum and immigration 

In An introduction to social work law you will learn what social workers do in their day to day practice with people. You will explore the importance of social work values and consider the challenges of applying these values in practice.

In Social work law and UK regulation you will learn how the law is made across the UK and how it regulates social workers and guides social work practice.

In Applying social work law to children and families you will be introduced to the law as it applies to social work with children and families. You will learn about varying definitions of childhood and family and then explore underpinning principles of the law relating to child rights and parental responsibilities.

Finally, Applying social work law to asylum and immigration presents an overview of the policy and law that relates to social work with people involved in the asylum and immigration system. You will hear the experiences of social work practitioners, lawyers, advocates and advice workers about ways they support people with insecure immigration status.

All four courses are open to anyone who has an interest in how social work is underpinned by legislative frameworks in the UK. They will be of particular interest to people considering entering the social work profession in the UK. 

The four OpenLearn courses are adapted extracts from the Open University course K271 Social work law.

Banner image: studiostockart / iStock


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