Top critical review
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Borrow Don't Buy
on 8 March 2010
Perhaps the biggest strength of this book is that it's so easy to read. At only 164 pages with very simple language used I think anyone could follow this book easily. As far as law goes this book is easy reading and for those of you who have no prior knowledge of law this book would be a good place to start. I do not have a law background and found myself getting overwhelmed by all of the material. This book made everything seem so much more manageable.
However, although it served the purpose of making me feel that this module wasn't going to be a complete disaster this book is actually fairly useless to me. I'm not saying that it won't be useful to anyone, I guess it depends a lot on what you're using this book for. When reading this book I felt that it didn't really go into enough detail about the different laws. In some ways it's very ambitious, trying to fit so much into such a small book and that just doesn't work if you want a book that tells you more than the basics. And by basics I mean the very basics. I don't have a good knowledge of the law, this is the first book I've read on social work law and I've only had a week of lectures on the subject but there wasn't anything new here for me. I think perhaps if I had read it before I started the module it would have worked well as an introductory text.
Most of the chapters in this book briefly explain the law in that particular area and then apply it to a case study. I really didn't like this. I'm not saying that this is always a bad thing and I know that some people will prefer it but I don't learn well this way. I much prefer to have all of the facts stated and then I can apply them to my own casestudy. I do know a lot of people find it easier to understand when books apply the law to situations so this is really just a personal irritation with the book. I'm reading this book so that I can apply the law to my own case study but because they use their own case studies they don't really cover everything, just what's relevant to that particular case. I have read chapters that are relevant to my own work only to find that what's covered in those chapters isn't relevant because they cover so little. I feel that the space could have been better used by putting in more information. I felt that the chapter on community care was particularly weak. There's so much to cover in community care and they're so specific that I felt like I couldn't even adapt what they had written to my own case. It was really very disappointing because they have all the right headings and questions and then deliver so little.
One thing that I think is great for students is that at the beginning of each chapter it states what key roles that chapter will be relevant to. If you haven't started your training yet you may not be aware (I certainly wasn't prior to starting the course) that to qualify you have to produce evidence that you meet a number of key roles. At times it can be quite difficult to identify exactly how you have met those key roles because it isn't always easy to fit the work that we do neatly into one specific box. I find that having the key role listed at the beginning of each chapter really helps me when it comes to writing up my evidences. There's also a useful table in Chapter 1 that lists all of the key roles that can be met using law which serves as a nice reminder of how important the law is to social workers.