Andrew Mark Cooper

Professor of Social Work

Andrew Cooper BA MPhil DipASS CQSW MBPF Principal Fellow HEA has been Professor of Social Work at the Trust since 1986, where he was formerly Dean of Education and Training, Director of Research, and Head of the Social Work Discipline. Presently he is the course lead for Professional Doctorate in Social Work.

Andrew is a qualified and registered psychoanalytic psychotherapist, and a registered social worker. He practices as a clinical social worker in the Adolescent Family Therapy Service of the Trust.  Teaching, researching, and promoting relationship-based and therapeutic social work has been central to his career, and many of his published works reflect this, Andrew founded the Centre for Social Work Practice which is a charity dedicated to promoting and developing relationship based social work.  He is a frequent contributor to social work and psychosocial conferences and seminars  nationally and internationally.

Andrew has supervised 25 PhDs and Professional Doctorates to completion, and has a special interest in pyscho-social and psychoanalytic research methodologies as well as how to combine inductive and deductive methods in small scale qualitative research projects. He believes that the particular value of practitioner social work and social care research lies in 'surfacing' and giving voice to marginalised and unrepresented forms of social and personal  suffering and conflict, matters which social professionals know about from direct experience but which are often beneath the radar of public and even professional concern. This interest relates to his wider concern with the 'relational politics' of the welfare state in Britain, and the importance of sustaining 'relational services' in mental health,child welfare and safeguarding, and many other areas.

For 20 years, starting in 1992 Andrew was engaged with colleagues  in a long series of cross-national research studies of European child  protection systems and practices. These studies heavily informed his critical thinking about English child care and protection work, and he has published many papers on these themes, and made a number of media appearances at times of crisis in the child protection system. He contributed to both the Laming and Munro reviews of child protection.  Some of the ideas which emerged out of these European studies influenced the early development of 'problem solving courts' in England. of which the Family Drug and Alcohol Court (FDAC) is the most prominent example. The national development of FDAC is now led by social workers and other clinicians at the Tavistock.

Since 2003, Andrew has also convened the series of Tavistock Policy Seminars  which explore the relationship between public policy and human relationships, and has developed a distinctive approach to teaching, theorising and researching policy analysis.



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Research activities

Pilot study comparing English and French child protection systems and practices undertaken with a team of French and English researchers / practitioners, 1991-2

ESRC funded action research project to compare English and French child protection systems and practices, involving ten English and ten French child protections workers in matched pairs, and a joint Anglo-French research team 1992-1994 

HEFCE funded project to study and compare the child protection systems and practices of seven European countries, 1993-5 

ESRC funded research seminar Welfare and Culture in Europe' (with University of East London and University of Edinburgh) 1995 - 6 

Essex Social Services Department, Evaluation of consultancy intervention, 2000 – 2002,  £20,000 as part of overall consultancy contract, £30,000 to fund research co-ordinator November 2002 – November  2003

Grants awarded:

ESRC funded research seminar series 'Mediating Institutions in Child Welfare: European Models and  Applications' ESRC 1997-98 £13,050

Brent Social Services Department, Evaluation of Children Looked After Project, July 1997 - May 1999, Brent SSD £9,100

Nottingham City Council Social Services Department, NSPCC funded project to implement development programme in child protection systems and practices based on European research findings:, November 2000-2002 Nottingham SSD/NSPCC 2000-02 £25,000

ESRC funded research seminar series ‘Politics and Emotion’, joint applicant with Prof P Hoggett, University of West of England and Jessica Evans, Open University, 2007-08,  £13,000 ESRC 2007-08 £13,000

Andrew Cooper