1) Lecturer in Social Work: Dept. of Sociology, Lancaster University:
Areas of interest include, critical approaches to adult mental health, working with adults at risk, and human rights. Teaching is aimed at enabling students to apply reflexivity and critical thinking to the application of theory in practice.
2) Independent Social Work Consultant (Nationally):
This work involves accepting instruction(s) to provide independent witness reports on matters relating to mental health, mental capacity, learning disability, best interests, safeguarding adults, judicial review and human rights. This has meant working in the High Court / Court of Protection, instructed through the official solicitor, as a single and joint witness (in over 20 cases).
Continuing Professional Development Training:
This has involved being commissioned as an independent social work consultant by numerous local authorities, health trusts; and the Court of Protection, to deliver CPD, to a range of different professionals (pre-and-post professional qualification). Examples include, The Mental Capacity Act; Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards; Complex Decision Making in Best Interests; Person Centred Planning; Risk Enablement in Health and Social Care; Understanding Loss and Bereavement in Older Adults; Caring for Adult Offspring with Impairment; and Supervision Skills.
Previous Academic and Professional Posts:
Associate Lecturer at Lancaster University: From 2005 – 2013
This involved the development and delivery of over twenty different University social work modules, at both undergraduate and postgraduate level.
Mental Capacity Act Implementation Lead: August 2008 – Dec 2010
Implementation of the ‘Mental Capacity Act 2005’ including, ‘Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards’ across a regional health and social care economy. Based in a large PCT, this involved working across all provider and commissioning services; including three hospital trusts, locality G.P surgeries, and associated care homes. The majority of this work related to adults whose mental capacity to make decisions was in question. The aim was to embed a human rights approach within regional adult health and social care services; and improve the experience of people who use services, and their families and carers.
Area Mental Capacity Act Training Officer: Dec 2007 – August 2008 (Secondment)
To devise and implement a county-wide Mental Capacity Act training strategy, tailored to the needs of different stakeholders in health and social care organisations and community groups.
Social Worker and AMHP: Aug 2003 – Dec 2008
This involved complex case management and care coordination, to deliver a range of services in accordance with the Care Programme Approach. This included undertaking the specialist statutory role of ‘Approved Mental Health Practitioner’ (previously ASW), to discharge duties under the Mental Health Act 1983 (as amended 2007).
Academic and Professional Qualifications:
Lancaster University 2013 – 2014
PG Certificate in Academic Practice
Manchester University 2008
Post Graduate Approved ‘Best Interest Assessor’ Training
Manchester University 2005 – 2006
Post Graduate Professional ‘Approved Mental Health Practitioner’ Award
Manchester University 2004 – 2005
Post Graduate Professional ‘Mental Health Award’ (PQ1)
Lancaster University 2001 – 2003
MA in Applied Social Science: First Class with Distinction
Including a Post Graduate Diploma in Social Work (PgDipSW)
Teesside University 1994 – 1997
Bsc (Hons) Degree Psychology
Fletcher, D. (2004) Reform of the Mental Health Act 1983: opportunity or catastrophe for social work?. Norwich: University of East Anglia. [Maiden name]
Whitaker, D. (2013) ‘Introducing Risk in the Context of Social Work Practice.’ In Edmondson, D. (ed.) A Complete Guide to Social Work Learning. London: Sage. (Pgs. 121-137).
Whitaker, D. (2014) ‘Social Justice for Safeguarded Adults Deprived of their Liberty in the UK?’. Disability and Society. DOI: 10.1080/09687599.2014.948752.
Phd: ‘Safeguarding adults at risk from statutory safeguarding processes – a human rights approach’