Founding Purposes

This was a free online magazine which was produced during the first peak of the Covid-19 crisis in the UK from April to July 2020. It was edited by an editorial collective and focussed on issues that were of interest to those who were using social work or social care services, those who provided them and those who were undertaking teaching or research around them. Some of those issues were related directly to Covid-19 (policy analyses, thought pieces, personal experiences) but there was also space to raise issues related to other things connected to social work and social care that contributors felt needed airing during this period of the Covid-19 crisis. 

The founding editorial collective was made up of: Brid Featherstone, Anna Gupta, Christian Kerr, Gillian MacIntrye, Abyd Quinn-Aziz & Robin Sen.

The magazine arose out of a belief that there was much going on of high relevance to social work and social care under Covid-19, and a number of interesting things being written and spoken about them. But there was also a lack of an accessible format to bring some of those discussions together: we did not suggest this magazine was the only outlet for them but our goal was that it provided another outlet, which was both of interest and use to the social work and social care community, and brought together some of the more fragmented discussions which were taking place. The content of Social Work 2020 under Covid-19 fell somewhere between Twitter threads (which are good, but often melt into the online air) a magazine article (which are good but of set frequency and of limited capacity to reflect ongoing issues that arise) and a blog (which are good but often written only by one author) : it may be best thought of as a collection of blog-like articles which were collected around social work and social care during the early part of the Covid-19 crisis. The content of the magazine therefore provides some archive of issues raised in respect of social work and social care during this period and will therefore be, we hope, continue to be of some use and interest now the magazine is no longer operating.

In making a call for articles while the magazine was running we noted that we would particularly like to include: “articles describing and analysing policy, policy applications and practices during the Covid-19 crisis in any of the four countries in the UK – both those raising concerns and asking questions and those highlighting positive practices with transferable lessons; articles which critically analyse the response of big business and private capital in respect of the caring professions, during the Covid-19 crisis; articles which underpin solidarity between those using and providing social work and social care services, and with other allied professionals and workers; articles on personal experiences or reflections about receiving or providing services, or lived daily experience in the Covid-19 crisis; any international contributions with learning for the UK around the social work and social care response to the Covid-19 crisis; creative pieces based on experiences under Covid-19; relevant book and film reviews; and, articles which raise issues in social work and social care that are being forgotten about during the Covid-19 crisis (whether or not directly related to Covid-19).” In this call we did not reckon for the international interest the magazine would garner in this call: by the final edition we had published articles from authors based in Australia, Canada, China, Ireland and Israel, as well as the four UK countries. In addition to this interest we had site visits or messages of support from those based in Egypt, Finland, France, India, Netherlands, New Zealand and the USA.

The editorial collective was committed to a constructive, critical engagement around the responses of big business, governments,  governmental and non-governmental agencies during the Covid-19 crisis. We were also committed to plurality of voice and perspective and were happy to include articles that came from different perspectives, so long as they were consistent with our understanding of core social work values.

Contributors were free to submit items developed from other blogposts, Twitter threads and other writing, so long it was substantially developed from the original and they had the appropriate rights and permissions to reproduce the material.

Articles were assessed for inclusion by the editorial collective. If we had more articles then we could include for a particular edition then the criteria used to select them were : currency and timeliness of the issues raised; insightfulness as judged by the editorial collective members; plurality of issues raised in the article (i.e. did it raise substantively different issues other articles, particularly in the same issue?); plurality of voice (we were keen to see articles from the widest range of people who used, provided, taught and researched around social work and social care); and, consistency with social work values as per the IFSW Global Social Work Statement of Ethical Principles  ( ). Where members of the editorial collective themselves submitted articles those pieces were assessed and managed by at least two other members of the collective, and judged by the same criteria as above.

Articles word length guidelines were between 500 – 1500 words, with slightly shorter or longer ones accepted at the editors’ discretion. Authors were encouraged to keep academic references to a minimum. Authors were asked to ensure they respected the confidentiality and anonymity of people using services and colleagues providing direct services. It was up to an author whether or not they named their organisation, or not. We were also happy to accept articles written under pseudonyms if writing under an actual name was a difficulty.

Best wishes, good health and solidarity.

The SW2020Covid-19 Editorial Collective

Version 071020.