Keynote Speakers

Professor Sarah Banks

Durham University, United Kingdom



Practising ethically in an unethical world: Cultivating professional ethical wisdom in social work

Social work is an inherently challenging profession – often working with people on the margins of society, negotiating the rough ground between care, empowerment and control. Frequently funded by the state, it is deeply entwined with policy, politics and prevailing economic and social conditions. This presentation will consider the ethical implications for social work practice of conditions of neo-liberalism, along with increasing marketisation and managerialism, and a climate of economic austerity and moral hostility to people who are financially and socially marginalised. How can social workers practise ethically in what seems to be an increasingly unethical climate? This presentation will explore the ‘ethics work’ that social workers do to develop themselves as good practitioners, working out the right course of action in difficult circumstances, justifying who they are and what they have done. It will consider the nature and role of ‘professional ethical wisdom’ and how this can be cultivated through education, supervision and critical dialogue with peers.



Sarah banks is co-director, Centre for Social Justice and Community Action (CSJCA) and Professor, Department of Sociology, Durham University, UK. She is known for her research and publications in the field of social work ethics. Her books include: Ethics and Values in Social Work, 4th edn (Palgrave Macmillan, 2012); Practising Social Work Ethics Around the World: Cases and Commentaries (Routledge, 2012, edited with Kirsten Nøhr); Ethics in Professional Life: Virtues for Health and Social Care (Palgrave, 2009, with Ann Gallagher). Recent research includes a study of complaints against social workers to the professional regulatory body in England.

Sarah also researches on community development and ethics in community-based participatory research. Through CSJCA she undertakes participatory research projects in partnership with community organisations and has worked to develop ethical guidelines for participatory research. She has authored and edited several books in this area, including: Ethics, Equity and Community Development (Policy Press, May 2019, edited with Peter Westoby); Ethics in Participatory Research for Health and Social Well Being (Routledge, 2019, edited with Mary Brydon-Miller); and Co-Producing Research: A Community Development Approach (Policy Press, 2019, edited with Hart, Pahl and Ward).

Professor Donna McAuliffe

Griffith University, Australia



When organisational and professional values collide: Ethical decision making in the context of complexity

Some of the most difficult situations that human service and social work practitioners have to navigate happen in the context of tensions between organisational requirements and professional values. Organisations typically operate under a number of mandates, which demand adherence to legal parameters, socially acceptable boundaries, political imperatives and employment contracts. What a human services practitioner may feel morally obliged to do, in the best interests of their clients, may not be what is allowed or permitted under an organisational directive. When an ensuing ethical dilemma is experienced by a practitioner, it is useful to consider an ethical decision making process that includes attention to determining accountability, considering cultural dimensions, critically reflecting on past actions, options and potential consequences, and engaging in consultation where appropriate. This presentation will consider ethical decision making in cases where human service practitioners need to advocate for clients in a sometimes hostile environment.



Donna McAuliffe is Professor and Head of School, School of Human Services & Social Work, Griffith University, Australia. She has a social work practice background in mental health, legal social work, community development and program management. She has been teaching and researching in the field of professional ethics for over two decades, and led the 2010 revision of the Australian Association of Social Workers Code of Ethics. She is sole author of the text Inter-professional Ethics: Collaboration in the Social, Health and Human Services (2014), and co-author of the 5th edition text The Road to Social Work and Human Service Practice (2017). Donna is the Australasian Pacific Associate Board Editor for the journal Ethics and Social Welfare and developed the Inclusive Model of Ethical Decision Making (2008). She has a particular interest in emerging ethical issues in technology and social media, as well as ways in which social work ethics complaints are managed and the profession is regulated.

Professor Tseng Hua-yuan

Tung Hai University, Taiwan



Social Work Professional Ethics in Chinese Society: Practice Dilemma and Recommendations

‘Human feelings’, ‘relationship’, ‘face’ and ‘reciprocity’ are considered as the core norms of interactive relationship in Chinese society. From an ecosystem point of view, the treatment of social work clients involves the intervention of multiple systems. As far as role responsibility is concerned, the professional role of social workers is moral intervention, with statutory power to allocate welfare resources. According to western professional ethical principles, a human society will face with ethical problems, such as system conflict mediation, fair resource distribution, whistle-blowing, self-determination, use of authority and professional relationship boundary. Therefore, there is a need to strengthen the construction of professional knowledge, skills and ethical principles suitable for Chinese community; and educate students to enhance their competency in dealing with human affairs and relationship.

Keywords: human society, social work professional ethics, ethical dilemma



Professor TSENG Hua-Yuan is currently a professor of social work at Tung Hai University, an honorary professor in School of Social Sciences at Caritas Institute of Higher Education, a distinguished professor of social work at Xiaozhuang College and a member of the Public Welfare and Social Work Review Group of the Higher Education Evaluation Centre Foundation. He was the head of the research and training team of "Teacher Zhang" of the National Salvation Corps, the Head and Secretary General of the Department of Social Work of Tung Hai University, the Chairman of the Taiwan Association of Social Work Education, the member of the Youth Guidance Committee of the Executive Yuan and the overseas member of the Hong Kong Social Workers Registration Board. His expertise lies mainly in the management of juvenile deviation behaviour, social work theory, social work practice, social work education and social work ethics. His publications include: "Juvenile Welfare", "Social Work Professional Education Research", "Social Work Practice Teaching: Principle and Practice", "Introduction to Voluntary Service", "Social Work Management" and "Introduction to the Professional Values and Ethics of Social Work."

Professor Tsui Ming-sum

Caritas Institute of Higher Education, Hong Kong



The Nature of Social Work Revisited: “Relationship-based”, “Client-based”, “Evidence-based”, or “Value-based”?

In my presentation, I shall ask a simple but basic question: why social work? We believe that social work comes from the values, it is a part of our core values, it strive for preserving and pursuing the humanistic values, and supported by the professional values. However, when we mention about values, we need to be clear about what kinds of values that we are talking about. Are they personal, professional, organizational, social, political or spiritual values? Different values exist in the contemporary societies, but they may not be the same. Sometimes, there are tension and even conflicts with one another.

This explains why practice of social work by nature is a dynamic and complicated processes. In the processes, we need the values to be the guide for our direction and sustain our efforts. Otherwise, the means may overshadow the meaning, we shall be fully engaged with doing but forget thinking and dreaming. Without values commitment, social work professionals will become only social technocrats. The roles and functions of social workers are well-being of the people from the birth to the death. Sometimes, we may not solve the problem with our clients. However, at least, we can serve as partner to listen and help, to empower and advocate, of course, with the belief in love, self-determination, and social justice.

With a self-reflection over the practice in the past 40 years, I would like to share some of my ideas and ideal with fellow workers to revisit the base of social work practice: is social work “relationship-based”, “client-based”, “evidence-based”, “value-based” or a mixture of all/some of these components?



TSUI Ming-sum is Professor & Dean, Felizberta Lo Padilla Tong School of Social Sciences, Caritas Institute of Higher Education (CIHE), Hong Kong. He is also adjunct professor of other nine universities in the world. Before joining CIHE, he was Professor of Social Work and Associate Dean, Faculty of Health and Social Sciences, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Ming-sum has 40 years of experience in practising, researching, and teaching social work practice. He was Service Supervisor of Development and Health Services of Hong Kong Christian Service. Ming-sum set up the first community-based family service centre, the first counselling centre for psychotropic substance abusers and the first employee assistance program in Hong Kong. He also supervised the Hong Kong Eye Bank Clinic and coordinated program development, fund raising, service evaluation, and staff development.

The research interests of Ming-sum include social work supervision, human service management, theory and practice of social work, social work education as well as substance abuse. He has published more than 145 pieces of research works, including 12 books (e.g., Social Work Supervision: Contexts and Concepts. Sage, 2005) and 75 refereed journal articles. Ming-sum has been the most productive researcher in social work supervision in the world. In the area of social work theory and practice, Ming-sum is the most productive author in International Social Work. His famous article “From resilience to resistance: A reconstruction of the strengths perspective in social work practice” received the Frank Turner Best Paper Award 2010 from International Social Work. It is the most-downloaded social work article in the world. In addition, Ming-sum’s editor’s-choice article “Boundary of social work relationship revisited” in British Journal of Social Work re-conceptualized the existing medical model of worker-client relationship into a more dynamic and inclusive model. In the academia, Ming-sum is serving as the Co-Chief Editor of International Social Work and member of editorial board member or reviewer for other 18 academic journals.