Course Title: Ethical, Legal and Organisational Contexts of Social Work Practice

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Ethical, Legal and Organisational Contexts of Social Work Practice

Credit Points: 12


Course Code

Campus

Career

School

Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)

HWSS2209

City Campus

Postgraduate

365H Global, Urban and Social Studies

Face-to-Face

Sem 1 2016,
Sem 1 2017

Course Coordinator: Ronnie Egan

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 1105

Course Coordinator Email: ronnie.egan@rmit.edu.au

Course Coordinator Location: 8.7.35


Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities

None


Course Description

This course will introduce you to generic professional social work practice skills required in workplaces providing human services. It will focus on the meso level of social work practice with an emphasis on professional, ethical, legal and organisational aspects of practice operating in a market economy.

Social work practice occurs within a legislative and policy context, available funding and resources shaped by broader socio political and technical environments. This course will analyse how the law, workplace and the profession shape practice and the importance of understanding context in order to manage the competing demands of practice. Based on principles of human rights and social justice, this course introduces you to the practice knowledge and skills required for professional practice in all human service practice settings. In particular, you will learn to identify and respond to the tensions, conflicts and ambiguities which are ever present in social work practice.

You will have the opportunity to develop skills needed for recording, report writing, letter writing and working in human service organisations. In addition to practice skills you will consider ethical principles and social work concepts that underpin professional practice.

Through a series of case studies from different contexts you will examine administrative ethics and accountability in your work with vulnerable populations. The workshops will debate and experiment with responses to critical incidents and complaints taking into account your professional responsibilities and legal/organisational demands. The practice of supervision will be evaluated in order to navigate challenges faced in the workplace.
 


Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

This course addresses the following MSW Program Learning Outcomes

  • Use appropriate research strategies to inform ethical professional social work practice and to broaden the scope of contemporary social work theory and practice
  • Apply sophisticated oral and written communication skills to present complex information to individuals, organisations and professional and non-professional communities in accessible and culturally appropriate ways
  • Engage in practice which acknowledges the fundamentally multicultural nature of contemporary societies and acknowledges the unique position of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, seeking to promote the rights of these groups
  • Practise as an autonomous, ethical and critical social work practitioner with a commitment to lifelong learning


Upon successful completion of this course, you will be able to:

  1. examine the Australian Association of Social Work’s Code of ethics and demonstrate a capacity to translate this into ethical social work practice 
  2. examine a model of ethical decision making to manage ethical dilemmas in social work practice
  3. demonstrate and analyse an understanding of key legal considerations in social work practice including privacy, natural justice and specialist legal referral 
  4. explore and analyse ways in which the human service organisational context influences social work practice
  5. critically analyse and reflect on the tensions and dilemmas of working in organisations
  6. demonstrate the importance of social work supervision and working collaboratively across organisations


Overview of Learning Activities

You will be engaged in learning that involves a range of activities both face to face and online such as online lectures, experiential workshops, group and class discussion, group activities and individual research.


Overview of Learning Resources

RMIT will provide you with resources and tools for learning in this course through our online systems:

  • A range of learning resources will support your learning including:
  • Lecture input followed by experiential workshops
  • Case studies as a means of demonstrating the concepts introduced
  • Models of critical reflection as a way of deconstructing the tensions inherent between organisational demands and professional requirements
  • Weekly online lecture input to be viewed before each workshop and experiential workshops will demonstrate the links between the concepts and practice
     


Overview of Assessment

You will be assessed on your development of the following program learning outcomes in this course:

- Apply sophisticated oral and written communication skills to present complex information to individuals, organisations and professional and non-professional communities in accessible and culturally appropriate ways
- Practise as an autonomous ethical and critical social work practitioner with a commitment to lifelong learning
- Apply advanced problem solving skills and techniques of intervention that bring together complex information transferable across different institutional and cultural contexts of practice incorporating innovative interventions to effectively meet the needs of individuals, families, groups and communities
 

You will be assessed on how well you meet the course’s learning outcomes and on your development against the program learning outcomes.

  • Assessment may include assessment reports, online learning tasks, in- class assessments and essays. Assessment will cover both theoretical and practical aspects of your learning.
  • Feedback will be given on all assessment tasks.
  • If you have a long term medical condition and/or disability it may be possible to negotiate to vary aspects of the learning or assessment methods. You can contact the program coordinator or the Disability Liaison Unit if you would like to find out more.
  • A student charter http://www.rmit.edu.au/about/studentcharter summarises your responsibilities as an RMIT student as well as those of your teachers.
  • Your course assessment conforms to RMIT assessment principles, regulations, policies, procedures and instructions which are available for review online: http://www.rmit.edu.au/policies/academic#assessment