Adult safeguarding observed: How social workers assess and manage risk and uncertainty

Jeremy Dixon

Research output: Book/ReportBook


This book explores how social workers assess and manage risk and uncertainty when doing adult safeguarding work. The first chapter of the book examines how adult safeguarding came to be seen as an issue needing a policy response, beginning with campaigns about the abuse and neglect of older adults in the 1960s. The theoretical framework for the book is set out in chapter 2, which introduces key theories from the sociology of risk and uncertainty and shows how these have been applied to social work. The concept of risk work, which focuses on risk knowledge, interventions and social relations is used, to explore how social workers understand and use the concept of risk on the ground. The book contains three chapters reporting on a research study with 31 social workers across three local authorities using observations and interviews. Chapter 3 of the book focusses on how social workers managed referrals and assessments. Chapter 4 focuses on their understanding of policies and principles related to safeguarding and how they matched up with everyday practice. Chapter 5 focusses on how social workers engaged with service users, family carers and paid carers during adult safeguarding research. The book concludes through identifying how the findings relate to previous academic work on social work and risk and through setting out policy and practice recommendations.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationBristol, U. K.
PublisherPolicy Press
Number of pages164
ISBN (Electronic)9781447357315
ISBN (Print)9781447357285, 9781447357292
Publication statusPublished - 25 Jul 2023


  • Social Work
  • Ethnography
  • Adult Safeguarding
  • Adult Protection
  • Risk
  • Uncertainty
  • Risk Work
  • Care Act 2014
  • Mental Capacity Act 2005


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