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HSC Workforce Study II: An examination of the impact of turnover and retention on workforce stability in Social Work in Northern Ireland with ‘safe staffing’ implementation as a Legislative and Policy Priority

   Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

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  Dr P McFadden  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

This PhD research will be embedded within a wider research team, with experienced academics who are from cross-disciplinary professions, including social work, nursing, psychology, and Human Resources. A full time Post Doctorate Research Assistant is also part of the team, led by Dr McFadden since the start of HSCWR-I project in 2020. All roles in the team are explicit. A link to all reports, executive summaries and publications are available here

The main aim of this PhD research study is to examine safe staffing levels in social work in Northern Ireland. This will relate to one of a range of social work areas, specifically related to older people social work or child protection social work. The PhD researcher will undertake a literature review on approaches to workload and safe staffing in either adult of children’s social work practice on an international scale. The area of focus will depend on the practice knowledge of the successful candidate. The research will involve leading on analysis of the current workforce and workload for social workers, considering the context and demands on the service area, flow processes and impact on service users and carers in Northern Ireland. The research will involve gaining key stakeholder views on challenging issues, possible solutions, and existing approaches to workload management. This will involve input from front line workers, managers, senior managers, executive directors of social work, in preparation for impending future (estimated 2024/5) legislation and policy changes in this area. regulators, professional bodies and service users. The project will conclude with recommendations on safe staffing guidance in NI, 

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