Ms Frances Patterson

Senior Teaching Fellow

Social Work Colin Bell Building, University of Stirling, Stirling, FK9 4LA

Ms Frances Patterson

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About me

About me

I work in the post-qualifying (CPD) team within the Social Work section of the Faculty of  Social Sciences and am involved in the MSc Applied Professional Studies (Management and Leadership in Social Services) and the Certificate in Management in Social Services as well as a range of short courses developed in response to the professional learning needs of managers, supervisors and practitioners in Scottish social services. My own professional background is in adult health and social services with a specialist focus on adults with learning disability and young people with disability making the transition from education into adult life. My working life has spanned the statutory and voluntary sector social services and I have a particular interest in the possibilities and the challenges of cross sector working. I worked for many years as a social work practitioner including experience as a Practice Teacher and Mental Health Officer. I was then involved in management roles in a range of organisational settings and cultures.I have a strong commitment to the supervision and development of staff working in all aspects of social care and to the fostering of personal leadership skills across the workforce. I have worked within the Social Work post-qualifying team at University of Stirling over the past nine years. I value the opportunity this role offers to support social services managers and practitioners to enhance their own learning through critical reflection and dialogue.


Fellow of Higher Education Academy
Higher Education Academy

Senior Fellow of Higher Education Academy
Higher Education Academy

Community Contribution

Facilitator - Workforce Scotland (Collective Leadership)

Divisional / Faculty Contribution

Chief Examiner (Social Work)


Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice
The Open University

MSc Social Work Management
University of Stirling

BA (Hons) Applied Social Studies
University of Bradford

External Examiners and Validations

External Assessor Northern Ireland Social Care Council (NISCC)

Other Project

Leadership in Social Work Qualifying Education

Research to identify how leadership issues are addressed within social work qualifying education (as part of the SSSC review of Social Work Education).

Development of a supervision practice guide for workers in Scotland’s social services

The practice guide is relevant to all staff working in social care and social work including both supervisors and supervisees. It is designed as a learning resource with optional reflective exercises and suggestions for further reading. The guide also offers a structured learning pathway at SCQF Level 9 which could potentially be assessed as part of an accredited award.

Research to identify what good leadership looks like in Scotland's social services
Institute for Research and Innovation in Social Services

The objective of this project is to investigate and describe the characteristics of effective leadership in Scotland’s social services, how this is recognised in practice, and how the impact of good leadership can be measured. This research is intended to evidence if the leadership activity undertaken to date across the different sectors of Scotland’s social services is making a difference to outcomes for people who use services and the social services workforce.

Professional qualification

Advanced Award in Social Work

Post Qualifying Award in Social Work


University Contribution

SFELTE Associate (Stirling Framework for Enhancing Learning and Teaching Excellence)

Research (5)

Professional supervision and supportLeadership and management in social services


Development of a Supervision Practice Guide for Workers in Scotland's Social Services
PI: Ms Frances Patterson
Funded by: Scottish Social Services Council

Leadership learning pathway for middle managers across Scotland’s social services
PI: Ms Frances Patterson
Funded by: Scottish Social Services Council

Identification of middle manager leadership learning needs in Scotland’s social services
PI: Ms Frances Patterson
Funded by: Scottish Social Services Council

Scoping, clarification and analysis of the middle manager role across Scotland's social services
PI: Ms Frances Patterson
Funded by: Scottish Social Services Council

Analysis of Leadership Activity and Development Needs in Scotland's Social Services
PI: Ms Frances Patterson
Funded by: Scottish Social Services Council

Outputs (14)


Book Chapter

Patterson F & Whincup H (2019) Making the transition from practitioner to supervisor: reflections on the contribution made by a post-qualifying supervisory course. In: Hafford-Letchfield T & Engelbrecht L (eds.) Contemporary Practices in Social Work Supervision Time for New Paradigms?. Abingdon: Routledge.

Research Report

Westwood J, Pemble C & Patterson F (2016) Leadership in Social Work Qualifying Education. Scottish Social Services Council. University of Stirling.

Research Report

Whincup H, Rothwell B & Patterson F (2016) Supervision Learning Resource. Scottish Social Services Council. Scottish Social Services Council.

Research Report

Patterson F & George C (2015) Middle Manager Leadership Learning Framework. Scottish Social Services Council.