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Decisions, Assessment, Risk and Evidence in Social Work

6th Biennial International Symposium

Tuesday 30 June to Wednesday 1 July 2020

Dunadry Hotel, Antrim

DARE 2020

  • DARE 2020

    DARE 2020: This sixth DARE symposium builds on the fifth symposium in July 2018 which brought together over 150 delegates from 20 countries including senior practitioners, managers, policy makers, researchers, regulators and social workers in education and training.


    This biennial DARE conference series brings together researchers, educators, policy makers and senior practitioners to share developments on the related topics of:

    • Professional judgement including reflective practice; cognitive judgement; heuristics; use of knowledge; and judgements in uncertainty
    • Decision & assessment processes with clients, families, professionals and organisations, including contested decisions & care planning
    • Assessment tool development including screening & diagnosis; assessing needs, strengths & risks; and statistical prediction of harm
    • Risk assessment, communication and management, including legal aspects, organisational processes and positive risk taking
    • Ethical, emotional, legal and contextual aspects of decision making, assessment and risk, including regret, stigma and professional ethics
    • Learning about professional judgement, decisions, assessment, risk including use of knowledge (evidence), professional supervision, education & training
    • Evidence creation, synthesis and dissemination; using knowledge to inform policy, practice, teaching, management and regulation in social work; knowledge transfer and implementation science


    The DARE conference series aims to support the development of professional knowledge and skills for the benefit of clients, families and societies by promoting research, organisation development, knowledge transfer and teaching initiatives

    DARE is supported by the School of Applied Social and Policy Sciences

    Please note that this Programme is draft and subject to change.

    Plenary Speakers

    Professor Pascal Bastian, Professor of Social Pedagogy, University of Koblenz-Landau, Germany, who has undertaken a wide range of research on judgement and decision making in social work including on issues of big data.

    Dr Emily Putnam-Hornstein, Associate Professor and Director of the Children’s Data Network, University of Southern California, United States of America, whose work focuses on the integration and application of data to inform interventions and policies.

    Professor Karen Broadhurst, Professor of Social Work, University of Lancaster, England, who is leading the creation of the Nuffield Family Justice Observatory which aims to improve the use of data and research evidence in the family justice system.

  • Call for Abstracts

    Abstracts are invited for Oral Presentations and Poster Presentations addressing any aspect of the conference themes. Abstracts should outline the context, methods and findings - of the study, research synthesis, or innovative service development or teaching activity - together with a generalizable message.

    Oral Presentations

    Presentations will be a maximum of 20 minutes and will be managed as parallel sets, with each set on a linked theme followed by discussion.

    Poster Presentations

    • One sheet, portrait (vertical) format, not exceeding 90 cm wide by 130 cm high (A0 size).
    • Pins will be provided for you to fix you poster to a board.
    • Title and author(s) of the poster should be at the top of the poster in bold lettering.
    • Participants from Northern Ireland who would like assistance in producing a poster are invited to contact Dr Campbell Killick, Lecturer in Social Work, Ulster University, at

    Further information

    Abstracts should be emailed to Prof Brian Taylor, Professor of Social Work at by Friday 31 January 2020 with copy to the conference secretary Mrs Sharon Lucas at using the template.

    Abstracts will only be accepted where at least one named author attends the conference. Preference will be given to abstracts:

    • with a clear link to the conference themes;
    • with clear relevance to social work practice, management, regulation, teaching or research; and
    • based on empirical data (research, service evaluation, training evaluation, professional audit; etc.) although exceptional theoretical abstracts may be accepted.

    Preference for Oral Presentations will be given to abstracts that are likely to be of interest to a wide cross-section of the audience. Where the Scientific Committee declines an abstract for Oral Presentation it may offer Poster Presentation instead. Decisions will be made by Friday 21 February 2020. The conference early-bird rate closes Friday 27 March 2020.

    Further conference details, including information on the programme, registration and fees, are being added incrementally to our website or contact the Mrs Sharon Lucas .

    Sponsored by the Health and Social Care Board for Northern Ireland and Ulster University School of Applied Social & Policy Sciences.

  • Location

    Dunadry Hotel, Antrim 

    2 Islandreagh Dr,
    BT41 2HA

    View on Google Maps

  • Accommodation

    Hilton Templepatrick Hotel & Country Club

    Castle Upton Estate
    BT39 0DD

    Tel: 028 9443 5500

    Distance 0.5 miles (approx. 13 min walk)

    The Templeton Hotel

    882 Antrim Road
    BT39 0AH

    Tel: 028 9443 2984

    Distance 2.2 miles (taxi)

    Guest house accommodation available in the local area includes:

    Beechmount Farm B&B

    30 Seven Mile Straight
    BT41 4QH

    Tel: 028 9446 7110

    Distance 1.7 miles (taxi)

    Keef Halla Country House

    20 Tully Road
    Nutts Corner
    BT29 4SW
    Tel: 028 9082 5491

    Distance 6.2 miles (taxi)

    Temple Taxis: 028 9443 3333 or Aldergrove Taxis: 028 9442 2226

  • Previous Conferences

    DARE 2018

    The fifth DARE symposium in July 2018 brought together about 160 delegates from 22 countries (across four continents), including senior practitioners, managers, policy makers, researchers, regulators and social workers in education and training.

    Plenary Speakers

    • Professor Haluk Soydan, Research Professor of Social Work, University of Southern California Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work, USA
    • Professor Rami Benbenishty, Louis and Gabi Weisfeld School of Social Work, Bar Ilan University, Israel,
    • Professor Brian Littlechild, Research Lead, Department of Nursing & Social Work, University of Hertfordshire

    DARE 2016

    The fourth DARE symposium in July 2016 brought together about 130 delegates from 12 countries including social workers in practice, management, policy, regulation, and education and training.

    Plenary Speakers

    • Mandeep K. Dhami, PhD, Professor of Decision Psychology at Middlesex University, London.
    • John D. Fluke, PhD, Associate Director of System Research and Evaluation at the Kempe Center for the Prevention and Treatment of Child Abuse and Neglect and Associate Professor at the University of Colorado School of Medicine.
    • Gerd Gigerenzer, Director at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development and Director of the Harding Center for Risk Literacy in Berlin.

    DARE 2014

    The third DARE symposium in July 2014 brought together about 120 delegates from 10 countries including social workers in practice, management, policy, regulation, and education and training.

    Plenary Speakers

    • Professor Eileen Gambrill, Hutto Patterson Professor of Child and Family Studies, University of California at Berkeley, USA, internationally recognized for her work on critical thinking, decision making and related ethical issues, and evidence based practice.
    • Dr Martin Webber, Reader in Social Work, University of York, UK, well-known for his passion for rigorous research in mental health social work, including application of evidence to practice decisions and professional knowledge-creation process.
    • Mr David Carson, Visitor, School of Law, University of Southampton, UK, an international speaker on the interface between law and risk in human services including the management of risk and professional decisions in organizations.

    DARE 2012

    The second DARE symposium in July 2012 brought together about 100 delegates from nine countries including social workers in practice, management, policy, regulation, and education and training.

    Plenary Speakers

    • Professor Hazel Kemshall, De Montfort University Leicester who has published widely on risk assessment and management with adult client groups including criminal justice.
    • Professor Aron Shlonsky, University of Toronto who has published widely on risk assessment and predicting harm in child welfare, and on evidence based practice in social work.

    Dare 2010

    The first DARE symposium in July 2010 brought together about 70 delegates including social workers in practice, management, policy, regulation, and education and training.

    Plenary Speakers

    • Professor Jill Manthorpe, Director of the Social Care Workforce Research Unit at King’s College London, who has undertaken research and published widely on adult safeguarding and risk in social care.
    • Mr Martin Calder, MA, CQSW, private consultant of Calder Training & Consultancy Ltd, who has undertaken developmental work with organisations and published widely on risk and assessment in child protection.