18-20 April 2018 | University of Edinburgh

Hosted by the Decision Assessment Risk Special Interest Group (DARSIG) 

Organisers:  Dr Teresa Bertotti (University of Milano – Bicocca, Italy); Dr Jane Shears, (St Andrew’s Healthcare; British Association of Social Workers UK), Prof. Idamarie Leth Svendsen and dr. Kresta Munkholt Sorensen (Copenhagen University College, Denmark ), Prof.  Brian Taylor, (Ulster University, N.Ireland)


Following on from the successful 2017 DARSIG event dedicated at the concept of Risk, this year the preconference is an interactive session dedicated at exploring the notion of assessment.

As we know, assessment in social work is a complex activity that interconnects personal, professional, group, institutional and organisational levels. Cross nationally, it is a baseline for making decisions about professional actions as well as about the activation of services and welfare provisions. However, in each country meanings, ways and boundaries in carrying out assessments are interpreted differently.

The use and effectiveness of assessment tools, whether they need to be standardised and evidence based, should be mandatory or freely chosen, whether they strengthen or weakens professional accountability and responsibility, are some of the burning issues of the debate.

The aim of the conference is to share knowledge and enrich the debate around some of these issues from an international perspective.

To facilitate a lively and fruitful discussion we propose an interactive session, using the World café,a technology for engaging people in collaborative conversation. Picturing a group of colleagues who meet at a café who engage in a passionate discussion, we will share our research studies beliefs and convictions The World café technique will allow us to draw a comprehensive picture in short time. 

It will provide an opportunity to learn from the experience in different countries regarding different ways to carry out assessments and to discuss some burning questions.

We hope that the pre-conference will have interest for scholars and professionals who want to explore critically one of the most common activity carried out by social workers. 

Preliminary program

9.00 – 10.00 - Welcome and Introduction to pre-conference

  • “Questions open and challenges in doing assessment in social work” – Teresa Bertotti (University of Milano Bicocca, Italy)
  • “How do legal, procedural and practical demands influence assessments in social work?” - Idamarie Leth Svendsen and Kresta Munkholt Sorensen (Copenhagen University College, Denmark)
  • “Risk assessment and rights-based practice” -  Jane Shears (St Andrew’s Healthcare; BASW)

10.00 – 11.15

  • 1.5 h session “The world café” - an active way to address interactively some relevant issues   

11.15 – 11.45

  • Comments, key messages and direction of further research: pre-conference organisers and participants
  • Conclusion and developments for DARSIG  - Brian Taylor  (DARSIG Convenor)

For any further information, you can write to teresa.bertotti@unimib.it

Date and time: 18 April 2018, 09.00-11.45; George Square Campus, room to be confirmed