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Personal profile


I have been a social work academic for over 30 years and before that was a practicing social worker in Birmingham in the 1970s. Working at Coventry University I taught on social work qualifying and post-qualifying courses, as well as on undergraduate and post-graduate courses for a range of professions and social science disciplines. I led social work, applied social science and health studies departments. I established the Centre for Social Justice. I was Vice Chair of the Joint University Council Social Work Education Committee; led the writing of a long term strategy for social work research and contributed to the development of the discipline of social work at a national level in a variety of ways. I co-founded the international Social Work and Health Inequalities Network which has over 350 members in over 25 countries and co-wrote the health policy of the International Federation of Social Workers. Since retiring from full time work I have been developing research on child welfare inequalities. I have published 5 books and over 50 peer reviewed articles and book chapters. I am now employed as Professor of Social Work by Huddersfield University and have an honorary research fellowship with the University of Sheffield.

Research Expertise and Interests

I have a long term interest in studying the relationships between social inequalities and social work. For many years this focussed on health inequalities and I co-founded the Social Work and Health Inequalities Network. In recent years I have drawn on that background to develop the study of child welfare inequalities in the UK and internationally. I have led a series of research projects funded by the Nuffield Foundation and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation which have examined inequalities in parents' and children's chances of involvement with children's social work services, their experiences of those services and the resultant outcomes. We have conducted studies comparing the four UK countries and local authorities within each of those countries. This has led to further work on local authority expenditure, inspection regimes, social work practice and parents' perceptions of services.

Research Expertise and Interests

  • Social Inequalities
  • Poverty
  • Social Work
  • Child Protection
  • Child Welfare

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Research Output

Child Safeguarding and Social Care

Bywaters, P., 11 Feb 2020, Tackling Causes and Consequences of Health Inequalities: A Practical Guide. Matheson, J., Patterson, J. & Neilson, L. (eds.). 1 ed. Boca Raton: CRC Press, 10 p.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

  • Child welfare inequalities in the four nations of the UK

    Bywaters, P., Scourfield, J., Jones, C., Sparks, T., Elliott, M., Hooper, J., Mccartan, C., Shapira, M., Bunting, L. & Daniel, B., 1 Mar 2020, In : Journal of Social Work. p. 193-215 23 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Open Access
  • 3 Citations (Scopus)

    Exploring drivers of demand for child protection services in an English local authority

    Hood, R., Gorin, S., Goldacre, A., Muleya, W. & Bywaters, P., 3 Feb 2020, In : Child and Family Social Work. 8 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • Untangling child welfare inequalities and the‘Inverse Intervention Law’ in England

    Webb, C., Bywaters, P., Scourfield, J., McCartan, C., Bunting, L., Davidson, G. & Morris, K., 20 Feb 2020, In : Children and Youth Services Review. 111, 10 p., 104849.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • Child protection and social inequality: Editorial

    Bywaters, P., Featherstone, B. & Morris, K., 30 Jan 2019, In : Social Sciences. 8, 2, 42.

    Research output: Contribution to journalEditorial

    Open Access
  • 1 Citation (Scopus)


    • 4 Invited talk

    Ethnic inequalities in children's social care: why the silence?

    Paul Bywaters (Speaker)
    13 Mar 2019

    Activity: Talk or presentation typesInvited talk

    What can we learn from elsewhere

    Paul Bywaters (Speaker)
    19 Nov 2018

    Activity: Talk or presentation typesInvited talk

    Storing Up Trouble: the need for better data

    Paul Bywaters (Speaker)
    11 Jul 2018

    Activity: Talk or presentation typesInvited talk

    Press / Media

    Extreme Ethnic Inequalities in the Care

    Paul Bywaters


    5 items of Media coverage

    Press/Media: Expert Comment

    Society Pays Later for not Giving Vulnerable Children a Good Start

    Paul Bywaters


    1 item of Media coverage

    Press/Media: Expert Comment

    Why are Children Treated Unequally by Social Care Services

    Paul Bywaters


    1 item of Media coverage, 1 Media contribution

    Press/Media: Research

    All Party Parliamentary Group's report on children's social care criticizes new policies

    Brigid Featherstone & Paul Bywaters


    1 item of Media coverage, 1 Media contribution

    Press/Media: Expert Comment