module specification

SW7014 - Risk and Decision-Making (2018/19)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2018/19
Module title Risk and Decision-Making
Module level Masters (07)
Credit rating for module 30
School School of Social Professions
Total study hours 300
45 hours Assessment Preparation / Delivery
207 hours Guided independent study
48 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 100%   Critical written analysis
Running in 2018/19 No instances running in the year

Module summary

• This module is designed to enable participants to enhance their skills in managing risk and decision making in their social work practice.
• It will require participants to look at their own values and the risk decisions they make in order to fully understanding the importance of life enhancing and autonomous risk taking where an individual has capacity to understand the risk.
• It examines the legal position from key legislation such as the Care Act 2014, Mental Health Act 2007 and the Mental Capacity Act 2005 and how these have translated into policy, guidance and practice expectations
• The module looks at risk in practice in a range of social work area’s. Risk in safeguarding decisions, in enablement, in care and support planning and potential risk to others in the community.
• It will support practitioners to understand the limitations on their practice and the decision-making framework provided by the relevant legislation.


The legislative and policy construct of risk and decision making. To include:  L.O 1, 6
Understand and apply Care Act (2014) moving away from care management in Working with Adults
Looking at the MCA particularly unwise decision and best interest principles and their implementation
Using the MHA positively to manage risk to self and others for people with severe mental illness

The wellbeing principle, improved outcomes and autonomous risk decisions. To include  L.O 1,2,3,5
Personalised and integrated care to achieve best outcomes
Inherent tensions within dual role of care and control
Supported decision making and unwise decisions.
Positive risk taking and risk enablement in developing Care plans and packages.

How to make a capacity assessment, and support the implementation of MHA sections – inherent risks and decision-making  L.O 3,4,5,6,7
Assessing capacity in line with the 2 stage test and the 5 principles of the MCA
Good understanding of risk in conducting mental health (where relevant to your practice) and capacity assessments
Best interest decisions and the statutory checklist

Risk management and decision making in Adult Safeguarding  L.O 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8
Recognise risk indicators of different forms of neglect and abuse
Managing risk throughout a safeguarding enquiry
Considering public interest risk
Accepting risk decisions from capacitated adults ((even if unwise)
Risk management through protection planning
Using evidence from enquiries and Safeguarding adult reviews to inform future safeguarding risk decisions

Use of practice evidence to inform complex judgements and decision within adult social care. To include:  L.O 2, 5,6,7,8,9
Gathering information to support risk management and decision making
Keeping professional and accessible records of practice evidence
Applying information to complex judgements and risk decisions
Learning from practice, reflect and examine previous risk and decision making practice.

Development and evidence of practice competence knowledge and skills in risk and decision making  L.O 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9
Critically analyse and reflect on your current skills, knowledge and competence in risk management and decision-making practice
Develop a personal action plan to develop any areas of difficulty
Embed KSS statements into your everyday practice

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

The richness of adult learning and training is the diversity of the participants. In roles, levels of experience, priorities, levels of understanding, personality, ethnicity etc. This module will enable everyone to have a positive experience of the course, the key messages of the programme will be re-enforced in various ways to ensure people with visual, auditory or kinaesthetic learning styles have equal opportunity to absorb the essential information. This will be achieved by using lots of real examples, chosen to relate as closely as possible to the work place of the specific participants. It should also involve encouraging participants to think of examples themselves in situations they may be part of and in settings they visit. If the sessions feel really relevant and targeted to the participants, they are far more likely to achieve the learning outcomes.

We will ensure participants understand how to access further resources, e learning packages to support their learning is essential in achieving a blended learning approach. Only a limited amount of information can be absorbed at a workshop so it important participants have opportunity for good reflective effective supervision, mentoring and modelling to embed new skills and knowledge and the motivation to seek further information as required.

Learning outcomes

At the end of the module participants will be have:

1. Critically examined the legal and policy construction of risk and vulnerability implications for adult social care.
2. Explored the inter-relationship between risk, data collection and assessment
3. Examined how decision-making impacts adult care service provision
4. Looked at the issue of accountability and robust risk assessment and risk management in all areas where an individual lacks capacity to understand this risk or are looking for support.
5. Developed confidence in skills required in risk decisions such as capacity assessments, mental health assessments (where relevant in their role) and care and support planning.
6. Developed an understanding of the importance or risk taking and autonomous and supported decision making to adults with care and support needs and the dangers of risk aversion.
7. Developed understanding of how legislation (Care Act, MHA, MCA) underpins risk management and decision-making
8. Importance and impact of research and evidence through Enquiries and Safeguarding Adults Reviews
9. Developed practice competence and knowledge and skills inline with the KSS framework.

Assessment strategy

Choose a case scenario from your practice within the critical analysis justifying the use of legislation and highlights ethical dilemmas, risk management and decision-making process within the context of safeguarding an adult.



Core Text:
Decision Making, Assessment and Risk in Social Work by Brian J. Taylor (2017)
Other Texts:
Professional Risk and Working with People: Decision-Making in Health, Social Care and Criminal Justice by David Carson, Andy Bain (2008)

Complexity in Social Work. by Rick Hood  (2018)
A critique of the domestic law framework Access to Social Care Human Rights: transforming services? By Bowen, P (2014) London. Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE)

Social Work Theory and Practice (2017) by Lesley Deacon - University of Sunderland, UK Stephen J. Macdonald - University of Sunderland, UK

The British Journal of Social Work (Oxford journals for BASW)
Professional Social Work. (BASW)
Journal of Social Work  SAGE Publications Ltd
British Journal of Social Work  Social Care Online

Understanding Risk in Social Work: Journal of Social Work Practice ...

British Association of Social Workers: BASW
Community Care Social Work News & Social Care Jobs
National Institute for Social Work: NISW
The British Journal of Social Work Oxford Academic - Oxford Journals

Electronic Databases:
Social Care Online.
Social Policy & Practice

Social Media Sources