I qualified as a social worker in 1984 and have worked in England and Scotland. After six years as a generic social worker, I specialised in mental health work and then became a community care team manager. I joined the University in 1997 as a teaching fellow and then became a lecturer in 2004, in order to pursue writing and research. I am currently the under graduate social work degree course director and coordinate the social work law and policy module. Teaching includes adult care law, policy and practice, ethics and values and collaborative working with agencies and with people who use services. In 2009 I started a PhD by publication and I am using the concepts of citizenship and professional discretion to explore how social workers support or limit service users' rights when they are subject to statutory intervention under the Scottish legal framework for adults at risk of harm. This has led to an interest in and publications about the possible impact of devolution on social work law and policy within the UK as a whole
Research interests include mental health, adult support and protection, adult care law policy and practice, and social work education. I am currently exploring whether devolution in the UK is creating different practice environments for frontline workers which then leads to variable practice in promoting the wider social rights of people with disabilities beyond basic assessment and service provision. More specfically in relation to adults at risk of harm, to what extent are the different mental health and mental capacity laws are leading to different responses to risk, autonomy and supported decsion -making. Most recently I have used participative methods to work with practitioners and services users as co-researchers to explore how Scottish adult safeguarding legislation is working in practice.