Dr Andrew Whittaker

Dr Andrew Whittaker, LSBU

Associate Professor

  • Email:
  • Telephone:
    020 7815 8438
  • School/Division:
    Health and Social Care / Primary and Social Care

Dr Andrew Whittaker is Associate Professor and Professional and Academic Lead for Social Work. His current research focuses upon expert decision-making in health and social care settings and the risks faced by young people in cities.

He is the Principal Investigator for two randomised controlled trials of an educational intervention designed to support novices to develop the risk assessment and decision making skills of experts called STEEP (Seeing Through the Eyes of Expert Practitioners). The first study is funded by the British Academy and the Leverhulme Trust with Professor Donald Forrester, Cardiff University. The second study is funded by the Centre for Research Informed Teaching with Professor Karin Moser from the Business School. He is also the Research Lead of the Risk, Resilience and Expert Decision Making (RRED) research group, a multi-disciplinary research group with leading experts in business, health and social care.

Andrew’s research also focuses upon the risks faced by young people in cities. He is currently Principal Investigator of a study of the risks posed by gangs in the London Borough of Waltham Forest and a study of young people’s perceptions of risk in the London Borough of Merton. He was seconded to the Tavistock Clinic for two years as a Research Fellow, who he co-authored a study into child abuse linked to witchcraft and spirit possession.

He is currently Guest Editor of two Special Editions of the Journal of Social Work Practice on risk and decision making in social work. He is also the author of research textbooks in the fields of social work and nursing.

Andrew previously worked as a Senior Practitioner in a local authority Child Protection Investigation Team, a Child and Adolescent Mental Health (CAMHS) clinic and as the Director of a mental health organisation.

Andrew has experience of doctoral supervision to successful completion and is interested in potential doctoral students with topics related to his research interests.

Level 4 (BA Year 1)

  • Human Growth and Development

Level 7 (MA Year 1)

  • Critical Perspectives on Human Growth and Development.

Level 8 (MA Year 2)

  • Dissertation Supervision

Level 9 (Professional Doctorate in Health and Social Care)

  • Study of current risks posed by gangs in the London Borough of Waltham Forest, £50,000 (PI Andrew Whittaker). (2017)
  • Seeing Through the Eyes of Expert Practitioners (STEEP) project in child protection, British Academy and Leverhulme Trust postdoctoral research award, £10,000, (PI Andrew Whittaker). (2016-18)
  • Seeing Through the Eyes of Experts Practitioners (STEEP) project in entrepreneurship, Centre for Research Informed Teaching, LSBU, £6,300, (PI Andrew Whittaker and Karin Moser). (2017)
  • Young people’s views on risk and safeguarding, London Borough of Merton, £10,000 (PI Andrew Whittaker and Annabel Goodyer). (2015-17)
  • Evaluation of an educational development programme for clinical nurse specialists in cancer care, NHS Higher Education Board, £14,000 (PI Andrew Whittaker and Alison Leary). (2016-17)
  • An evaluation of the Troubled Families initiative, London Borough of Havering, £15,000 (PI Jane Wills). (2012-14)
  • Evaluation of an intensive adolescent intervention service, Department of Education, £25,000 (PI Stephen Briggs). (2011-12)
  • The Safeguarding Children’s Rights Special Initiative (child abuse linked to belief in witchcraft and spirit possession), Trust for London (PI Stephen Briggs). (2009-11)
  • “Carers Matter’ project  (knowledge transfer project), Skills for Care, £23,000 (PI Stephen Briggs). (2011)
  • Prison healthcare study in three prisons, South East Coast NHS Offender Health Project Board,  £23,000 (PI Stephen Briggs). (2010)
  • Children’s Workforce Development Council, Return to Social Work programme (knowledge transfer project), £150,000 (PI Annabel Goodyer). (2009)

Most recent publications

Leary, A and Whittaker, A and Hill, A Developing the next generation of specialist cancer nurses.. Cancer Nursing Practice, 16. 25-30. DOI 10.7748/cnp.2017.e1453

Whittaker, A Research skills for social work. SAGE Publications, ISBN 9780857259271

Whittaker, A and Havard, T Defensive practice as ‘fear-based’ practice: Social work’s open secret?. British Journal of Social Work, 46. 1158-1174. DOI 10.1093/bjsw/BCV048

Williamson, GR and Whittaker, A Succeeding in literature reviews and research project plans for nursing students. Learning Matters, ISBN 9781446282830

More publications at LSBU Research Open
  • Fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts
  • Invited Ad Hoc Board Member of the International Association for the Study of Attachment (USA)
  • Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
  • HCPC-registered social worker
  • Editorial Board member, Journal of Social Work Practice.
  • Guest editor of two-volume Special Issue on “Risk in Social Work’ (2017) and ‘Decision Making in Social Work’ (2018) for the Journal of Social Work Practice.
  • Editor, Special Issue on “Child protection after the Munro Review’, Journal of Social Work Practice, 2014.
  • Ad hoc Board Member of the International Association for the Study of Attachment (USA).
  • Reviewer for British Journal of Social Work, Journal of Social Work Practice and Child and Family Social Work.
  • Expert Witness in criminal and public law proceedings where faith-based child abuse was suspected.
  • Co-edited a national training manual for childcare social workers returning to practice through the CWDC 'Return to Social Work' initiative.
  • Member of the European Social Work Research Association.
  • Accredited Counsellor/Psychotherapist, British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy.
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