Social Work Research Conference 2024

The 26th National Social Work Research Conference in Tampere University 15.–16.2.2024
Venue: Tampere University, City centre campus, Main building
Address: Kalevantie 4, 33100 Tampere

Effective social work in changing environments

In recent years, the implementation of social work and the responsibility for organizing social security have been subject to a variety of expectations and major structural changes. The changes that have already occurred, such as the transfer of basic social assistance to Kela, imposed limitations in the social worker-client ratio in child welfare and new wellbeing services counties, have already had many unexpected consequences for social work and the clients. Additionally, the health and social services reform tries to reconcile the work of different professionals, social security benefits and social services, and the debate on basic income continues. In addition to changes in the operating environment in Finland, we are also facing a variety of cross-border or global events and phenomena, such as climate change, war, and pandemic. The Earth with its limited resources is present in our everyday lives. 

The theme, effective social work, brings together topical questions about the impacts and effectiveness of social work as well as its subjects and means. First, we can consider the effects of social work in different circumstances, and how to measure and study the effectiveness and impacts of social work. In addition, we can generally discuss the accessibility of social work in the context of constantly evolving environments. We need to ask what the significance of different places where social work is carried out has to the effectiveness of social work. This will include, among others, the spatial diversity of social work and the tools and facilities needed for the work: offices, well-being centres, homes, communities, streets, social media, remote communication facilities, etc. 

Secondly, we need to look at the methods and their effectiveness, i.e., what kind of activities increase equality between people and the eco-social well-being of people and the world. What can we achieve with, for example, a multidisciplinary and integrated approach or a systemic approach, and do we need practice recommendations in social work? What kind of environment is the working culture within social work? The importance of research-based information is beyond doubt, and at the same time it is important to critically consider what is classified as knowledge, how information moves and who has access to it. 

Thirdly, the theme invites studies on social work as advocacy work. The changing operating environments may close old ways of doing advocacy work but at the same time open new opportunities for social work to fulfil its responsibility in changing and influencing the society.