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 Lead for Social Work. He is Head 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. His current research focuses upon the risks faced by young people in cities and expert decision-making in health and social care settings.

Andrew’s research focuses upon the risks faced by young people in cities. He is currently principal investigator of the ‘Postcodes to Profits’ study, which investigates new risks posed by gangs in the London Borough of Waltham Forest. He was co-principal investigator of 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 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 currently Guest Editor of a two-volume Special Edition 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.

Visit Andrew's Google scholar profile.
Visit Andrew's ResearchGate profile.

Level 7 (MA Year 1)

  • Critical Perspectives on Human Growth and Development.

Level 4 (BA Year 1)

  • Human Growth and Development.

Level 8 (MA Year 2)

  • Dissertation Supervision

Level 9 (Professional Doctorate in Health and Social Care)

    2017-18     ‘From Postcodes to Profits: How gangs have changed in Waltham Forest” - Study of current risks posed by gangs in the London Borough of Waltham Forest, £50,000 (PI Andrew Whittaker).
    2016-18     ‘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).
    2017-18     ‘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).
    2015-17     Young people’s views on risk and safeguarding, London Borough of Merton, £10,000 (PI Andrew Whittaker and Annabel Goodyer).
    2016-17     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).
    2012-14     An evaluation of the Troubled Families initiative, London Borough of Havering, £15,000 (PI Jane Wills).
    2011-12     Evaluation of an intensive adolescent intervention service, Department of Education, £25,000 (PI Stephen Briggs).
    2009-11     The Safeguarding Children’s Rights Special Initiative (child abuse linked to belief in witchcraft and spirit possession), Trust for London (PI Stephen Briggs).
    2011           ‘Carers Matter’ project  (knowledge transfer project), Skills for Care, £23,000 (PI Stephen Briggs).
    2010           Prison healthcare study in three prisons, South East Coast NHS Offender Health Project Board,  £23,000 (PI Stephen Briggs).

Most recent publications

Whittaker, AJ and Taylor, B Introduction to the edited book 'Risk in social work practice: current issues'. In: Risk in Social Work Practice: Current Issues. Routledge, pp. 1-133. ISBN 9781138599956

Whittaker, AJ and Cheston, L and Tyrell, T and Higgins, MM and Felix-Baptiste, C and Harvard, T From Postcodes to Profits: How gangs have changed in Waltham Forest. project_report. London South Bank University, London.

Taylor, B and Whittaker, AJ Professional judgement and decision-making in social work. Journal of Social Work Practice, 32. 105-109. DOI 10.1080/02650533.2018.1462780

Whittaker, AJ and Briggs, S Protecting children from faith-based abuse through accusations of witchcraft and spirit possession: understanding contexts and informing practice. British Journal of Social Work, 48. 2157-2175. DOI 10.1093/bjsw/bcx155

Whittaker, AJ How do child protection practitioners make decisions in real life situations? Lessons from the psychology of decision making. British Journal of Social Work, 48. 1967-1984. DOI 10.1093/bjsw/bcx145

Taylor, B and Killick, C and Bertotti, T and Enosh, G and Gautschi, J and Hietamäki, J and Sicora, A and Whittaker, AJ European Social Work Research Association SIG to Study Decisions, Assessment, and Risk. Journal of Evidence-Informed Social Work, 1-13. DOI 10.1080/23761407.2017.1394244

Whittaker, AJ and Taylor, B Understanding Risk in Social Work. Journal of Social Work Practice, 31. 375-378. DOI 10.1080/02650533.2017.1397612

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

Whittaker, AJ and Qiao, D and Zhang, T Media Coverage, Public Awareness and State Intervention in Child Abuse in China – An Analysis of High-Profile Cases. Child Abuse Review, DOI 10.1002/car.2488

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

More publications at LSBU Research Open
  • Fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts.
  • Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.
  • Invited Ad Hoc Board Member of the International Association for the Study of Attachment (USA).
  • HCPC-registered social worker
    Accredited Counsellor/ Psychotherapist with the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP).
  • Chair, International Scholarship Committee for the Decision, Assessment and Risk Special Interest Group (Pan-European research network).
  • Member, Awards and Prizes Committee, European Social Work Research Association.
  • 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.
  • Ad hoc Board Member of the International Association for the Study of Attachment (USA).
  • Committee member of JUC-SWEC, the national social work research network.
  • 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 is suspected.
  • Co-editor of a national training manual for childcare social workers returning to practice through the CWDC ‘Return to Social Work’ initiative.
  • Invited child protection consultant to the film director Mike Leigh for the Oscar-nominated film ‘Happy Go Lucky’.
  • External examiner at the University of East Anglia (UEA) and the University of Sussex.
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