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School of Health and Society

Joe Smeeton

Senior Lecturer in Social Work


Joe’s practice background is in Children & Families Social Work which included working with looked after children and care leavers as well as supporting families.

He has also managed child protection and looked after children’s teams. Joe has worked at the University of Sheffield, University of East Anglia and Nottingham Trent University prior to joining the University of Salford in 2015.


Joe has taught child & family social work on undergraduate and postgraduate qualifying courses but much of his focus has been on CPD for social workers already in practice and he has been key in developing a range of post-qualifying education in order to support and develop social work practitioners at all stages of their careers.

Research Interests

Joe is interested in researching how social workers practice and the knowledge bases that underpin their interventions and decision-making.

He has a particular interest in how service users experience social work practice and how we can ensure that practice remains sensitive to the needs of people for whom we provide services.

Joe has undertaken research around care and adoption proceedings and is keen to develop this area further. His preferred methodology is phenomenological with a focus on the lived experience of participants. This fits with another interest into the use of continental philosophy within social work.

Qualifications and Memberships

  • BA (Hons) Education
  • MA Social Research Methods
  • PGDip Applied Social Studies
  • Diploma in Social Work
  • PGCert Higher Education Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
  • Member of British Association of Social Workers
  • HCPC registered social worker


Book Chapters

Smeeton, J. (2012) Child Protection Social Work in Practice in Davies, M. “Social Work with Children & Families” London: Palgrave Macmillan

Smeeton, J. (2013) “Signs of Safety” in Davies, M. “The Blackwell Companion to Social Work” Chichester: John Wiley & Sons.

Smeeton, J. (2013) “Systems Theory” in Davies, M. “The Blackwell Companion to Social Work” Chichester: John Wiley & Sons. Professional Press: Research Findings on Social Pedagogy (1.12.11) Community Care. Conference Presentations 24th November 2006 - Conference Presentation – Preparing Young People for Leaving Care – Lithuanian National Conference on Residential Childcare – Pedagogical University of Vilnius 30th November 2007

Conference Presentation

Supporting Care Leavers in Independence – Lithuanian National Conference on Residential Childcare – Lithuanian Parliament 15.5.2008 - Conference presentation – Plagiarism, ‘controlled conditions’ and the assessment of social work skills in ‘real time’ - with Farooq, Boxall & McClelland

24.2.10 – Conference Presentation – Birth Parent’s Perceptions of Professionals in Contested Care Proceedings – CAFCASS Research Conference

28/29.6.10 – Conference Presentation – “If I knew then what I know now…”: The epistemological issues involved in making decisions about children’s safety from contrasting theoretical positions – Decision Making and Risk Evaluation conference – University of Ulster.

14.6.11 – “Protection, Professionalism, Parenting & Partnership” – Inter-professional Learning and Teaching Conference – University of Sheffield

14.7.11 – with Robin Sen – Meeting the challenges of collaboration in post-qualifying social work education – JUCSWEC

23/24 May 2012 – “Weaving Professional Practice – Applying Arendt to Social Work” New Horizons in Safeguarding Children - Manchester

Journal Articles

Smeeton, J. & Boxall, K. (2011) “Birth Parents’ Perceptions of Professional Practice in Childcare and Adoption Proceedings: Implications for Practice” in Child & Family Social WorkVol 16 (4)

Smeeton, J. (2015) “From Aristotle to Arendt: A phenomenological exploration of forms of knowledge and practice in the context of child protection social work in the UK” Qualitative Social Work 1473325015603479, first published on September 8, 2015 as doi:10.1177/1473325015603479

Ward, J. & Smeeton, J. (2016) "The end of non-consensual adoption? Promoting the well-being of children in care. In Practice: Social Work in Action."

Book Reviews

Children, Families and Social Exclusion: New Approaches to Prevention in Child & Family Social Work 15, 3 August 2010

Post Qualifying Child Care Social Work: Developing Reflective Practice in Child & Family Social Work 17, 2 August 2012.

Social Construction and Social Work Practice: Interpretation and Innovations in British Journal of Social Work 2012, 42(7)

Violent Fathering and the Risks to Children: The need for change. In Critical Social Policy August 2012 Vol 32(3) pp 486-488

Promoting Equality: Working with Diversity and Difference in Ethics and Social Welfare Vol 7 (4) 2013 pp434-5

Re-Imagining Child Protection in Practice: Social Work in Action Volume 26, Issue 4, August 2014, pages 271-273