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4th Annual Social Care and Social Work Research in Practice Conference


The Health and Social Care Board, in association with the Research and Development Division of the Public Health Agency, chose the prestigious Belfast Castle as the venue for the successful Annual Social Work and Social Care Conference, now in its fourth year, which this year takes place on Wednesday 1 March.

Speaking in advance of the event Fionnuala McAndrew, Director of Social Care and Children, said that this year’s theme “Intervening to strengthen families and communities to keep people safe – how do we best measure the impact of our interventions”, would have widespread interest and appeal for everyone with an interest in research and continuous improvement in social work and social care.

“This year we are looking at interventions to strengthen families and communities to keep people safe. We recognise that we need to continually adopt a more robust approach to measure and evaluate the impact of our interventions,” she said

The interest in the theme is reflected in the line-up of plenary speakers and in the responses to the call for abstracts, oral and poster presentations which this year has a good representation from Trusts, academia and both voluntary and community sectors.

Over 90 people from across Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland have registered to attend the meeting and organisers are confident that this conference will prove to be another highlight in the year’s calendar of events. In previous years, the conference has been an excellent platform for sharing experiences and stimulating the exchange of new ideas for the future and providing valuable lessons for all delegates.

Sean Holland, Chief Social Work Officer, and Deputy Secretary Opportunities, Department of Health, will also be speaking at the event. He said:

“I’d like to congratulate the organisers of this event and wish them every success for another stimulating conference this year. Building on previous years’ experience, this conference offers an important platform for everyone involved in social care and social work – from our researchers and policy leads to those starting out in their careers and our service users and carers to come together and share thinking and experience on issues of common interest.”

“With this knowledge we can facilitate discussion to build on this research and add to our culture of continuous improvement within social work,” he said.

The theme of continuous improvement is communicated throughout the conference programme in which social work professionals discuss often complex cases and meeting the needs of service users and carers. Presenting at the conference gives social workers employed in practice and academia the chance to communicate key learnings with peers and to be recognised for their work.  An Outcomes Report will be available after the event.


Find out more about Social Care and Social Work research.