I am a qualified social worker with research interests in adult support and protection policy and practice. I have a background in support work, particularly with people with learning difficulties. I continue to be connected with practice through a number of voluntary activities; in particular, I have been active in the independent advocacy movement for a number of years.
I worked as Research Assistant on the Scottish Adult Support and Protection study at the University of Dundee between 2006 and 2008, before moving to the University of Stirling to complete my PhD. My PhD work was based on a re-analysis of the Dundee data, and examined how professionals were practising and making sense of their practice in the complex and evolving policy context immediately prior to the implementation of the Adult Support and Protection (Scotland) Act 2007 (the ASPSA). The analysis drew out themes of continuing relevance to contemporary policy and practice, including practice contingencies and irreducible uncertainties, power differentials in the construction of "abuse", "vulnerability" and "harm", and the impact on practitioner constructions of professional and agency cultures and different approaches to risk.
I have delivered training on adult support and protection to a range of audiences. Whilst at Stirling I have also worked on a number of other studies including a collaborative study of risk and protection with people who use services (Altrum Research Team, 2011), scoping studies with the Multi-Agency Resource Service / WithScotland into aspects of ASPSA implementation for the Scottish Government, and a collaborative study of the implementation of the ASPSA with practitioners (Mackay et al, 2011). My most recent research explores the perspectives of independent advocates on work to safeguard adults from mistreatment in Scotland.