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

Duncan Helm, Autumn Roesch-Marsh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1361–1376
Number of pages16
JournalBritish Journal of Social Work
Issue number5
Early online date2 Aug 2016
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2017


  • child protection
  • child safeguarding
  • decision making


Dive into the research topics of 'The ecology of judgement: A model for understanding and improving social work judgements'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this