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The law and social work in Scotland

This module examines the legal frameworks that shape and regulate social work decision making in Scotland. It considers how social work can make use of the law in a positive way and examines the value of law from the perspectives of service users, carers and professionals. The module deals with a range of legal issues related to social care and social work practice, including children in need and safeguarding children, criminal and youth justice, community care, housing, and the impact of the Human Rights Act 1998 on practice. It also examines the dilemmas encountered in practice of working in an ethical way.

Modules count towards OU qualifications

OU qualifications are modular in structure; the credits from this undergraduate-level module could count towards a certificate of higher education, diploma of higher education, foundation degree or honours degree.

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Module

Module code
K207
Credits
60
Study level
OU SCQF FHEQ
2 9 5
Study method
Distance Learning
Module cost
See Module registration
Entry requirements
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What you will study

The policy issues raised by social care and social work practice can be controversial. They include the pressure on local authority resources that limits provision of community care services; the abuse scandals that surface regularly in relation to children, older people and those with learning difficulties; and controversy over professional decision making and interventions in family life. This module examines the role of law in regulating the complex range of tasks and issues raised by modern social care and social work practice.

The module will develop your knowledge and understanding of the law in relation to social care and social work practice. It will:

  • give you an understanding of the legislative base of social work practice in Scotland in relation to particular client groups
  • enable you to broaden your understanding of issues and dilemmas that social work law raises for social workers
  • give you information about the law relating to working with children and adults in various situations, including child care and protection, criminal and youth justice, community care, mental health, housing, welfare rights, asylum and immigration
  • heighten your awareness of the processes of decision making that are associated with the legal powers, responsibilities and duties of social workers and their employers
  • explore how the legal framework can be used to challenge discrimination and oppression.

Professional recognition

This is one of a set of modules that together constitute an approved programme that leads to the BA (Hons) in Social Work (Scotland) degree endorsed by the Scottish Social Services Council.

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

You will have a tutor who will help you with the study material and mark and comment on your written work, and whom you can ask for advice and guidance. We may also be able to offer group tutorials or day schools that you are encouraged to attend. Where your tutorials are held will depend on the distribution of students taking the module. 

Contact our Student Registration & Enquiry Service if you want to know more about study with The Open University before you register.

Assessment

The assessment details for this module can be found in the facts box above.

You will be expected to submit your tutor-marked assignments (TMAs) online through the eTMA system unless there are some difficulties which prevent you from doing so. In these circumstances, you must negotiate with your tutor to get their agreement to submit your assignment on paper.

Future availability

The details given here are for the module that starts in February 2015. We expect it to be available again in October 2015. We then expect it to be available once a year, in October.

Regulations

As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the Module Regulations and the Student Regulations which are available on our Essential documents website.

Course work includes:

5 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
Examination
No residential school

Course satisfaction survey

See the satisfaction survey results for this course.


Entry

This is an OU level 2 module equivalent to SCQF level 9; our OU level 1 module An introduction to health and social care (K101) offers ideal preparation for study in this field at this level.  

If you have any doubt about the suitability of the module, please contact our Student Registration & Enquiry Service.

Preparatory work

You will receive guidance of how to get started online in your first module mailing. This will provide you with information on using your computer for OU study and working with the Computing Guide. For example, it explains how to access and use your website and online discussion forums. If you have time before the module starts, you can work through this and explore all the online services available to you.

Register

Start End England fee Register
31 Jan 2015 Sep 2015 £2632.00

Registration closes 08/01/15 (places subject to availability)

Register

You may need to apply for some payment or funding options earlier. Please check the Fees and Funding information or contact us for information.

03 Oct 2015 Jun 2016 Not yet available

Registration opens on 12/03/15

This module is expected to start for the last time in October 2017.

Ways to pay for this module

Open University Student Budget Account

The Open University Student Budget Accounts Ltd (OUSBA) offers a convenient 'pay as you go' option to pay your OU fees, which is a secure, quick and easy way to pay. Please note that The Open University works exclusively with OUSBA and is not able to offer you credit facilities from any other provider. All credit is subject to status and proof that you can afford the repayments.

You pay the OU through OUSBA in one of the following ways:

  • Register now, pay later – OUSBA pays your module fee direct to the OU. You then repay OUSBA interest-free and in full just before your module starts. 0% APR representative. This option could give you the extra time you may need to secure the funding to repay OUSBA.
  • Pay by instalments – OUSBA calculates your annual fees and spreads them out over up to a year, enabling you to pay your fees monthly and walk away with a qualification without any further debt. APR 5.1% representative.

Read more about Open University Student Budget Accounts (OUSBA).  

Employer sponsorship

Studying with The Open University can boost your employability. OU qualifications are recognised and respected by employers for their excellence and the commitment they take to achieve one. They also value the skills that students learn and can apply in the workplace.

More than one in 10 OU students are sponsored by their employer, and over 30,000 employers have used the OU to develop staff so far. If the qualification you’ve chosen is geared towards your job or developing your career, you could approach your employer to see if they will sponsor you by paying some or all of the fees. 

  • Your employer just needs to complete a simple form to confirm how much they will be paying and we will invoice them.
  • You won’t need to get your employer to complete the form until after you’ve chosen your modules.  

Credit/debit card

You can pay part or all of your tuition fees upfront with a debit or credit card when you register for each module. 

We accept American Express, Maestro (UK only), Mastercard, Visa/Delta and Visa Electron. 

Gift vouchers

You can pay for part or all of your tuition fees with OU gift vouchers. Vouchers are currently available in the following denominations, £10, £20, £50 and £100. 

Mixed payments

We know that sometimes you may want to combine payment options. You may, for example wish to pay part of your tuition fee with a debit card and pay the remainder in instalments through an Open University Student Budget Accounts (OUSBA).

For more information about combining payment options, speak to an adviser or request a call back.


Note: Your permanent address/domicile will affect your fee status and therefore the fees you are charged and any financial support available to you. The fees and funding information provided here is based upon current details for  year 1 August 2014 to 31 July 2015.
This information was provided on 24/11/2014.

What's included

Module books, other printed materials and audio CDs. You will have access to a website through which teaching and library resources are available including online law resources which are integral to this module. Electronic versions of most of the printed study materials are provided on the website.

You will need

A CD player.

Computing requirements

You will need a computer with internet access to study this module as it includes online activities, which you can access using a web browser.

  • If you have purchased a new desktop or laptop computer since 2008 you should have no problems completing the online activities.
  • If you’ve got a netbook, tablet or other mobile device check our Technical requirements section.
  • If you use an Apple Mac you will need OS X 10.7 or later.

You can also visit the Technical requirements section for further computing information (including details of the support we provide).

Materials to buy

Set books

  • Davis, R & Gordon, J (eds) Social Work and the Law in Scotland (2nd edn) Palgrave Macmillan £23.99 - ISBN 9780230276314

If you have a disability

Written transcripts of any audio components and Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) versions of printed material are available. Some Adobe PDF components may not be available or fully accessible using a screen reader. Other alternative formats of the study materials may be available in the future. 

If you have particular study requirements please tell us as soon as possible, as some of our support services may take several weeks to arrange. Find out more about our services for disabled students.