The ecology of judgement: a model for understanding and improving social work judgements



Helm D & Roesch-Marsh A (2017) The ecology of judgement: a model for understanding and improving social work judgements. British Journal of Social Work, 47 (5), pp. 1361-1376.

Professional judgement is viewed as a crucial yet complex aspect of social work practice. Significant factors in judgement are understood to include individual psychological and emotional processes, interpersonal communication and the relationship between social work as a profession and society. Each contributory factor must be described and understood clearly in its own right and there is also a need to describe and understand the ways in which these different elements interact as parts of a complex system. We propose an ecological model of judgement that facilitates consideration of the complex non-linear interactions between multiple components forming a system or 'ecology' of judgement. Originating in the concepts of ecological rationality and systems thinking this paper proposes the ecology of judgement as a clear and logical model which practitioners and organisations can use to support and promote critical reflexive judgement in practice.

Child protection; Child safeguarding; Decision-making

British Journal of Social Work: Volume 47, Issue 5

Publication date31/07/2017
Publication date online02/08/2016
Date accepted by journal01/04/2016
PublisherOxford University Press

People (1)


Dr Duncan Helm
Dr Duncan Helm

Senior Lecturer, Social Work