Professor Paul Bywaters

I have been a social work academic for over 30 years and before that was a practicing social worker in Birmingham in the 1970s. Working at Coventry University I taught on social work qualifying and post-qualifying courses, as well as on undergraduate and post-graduate courses for a range of professions and social science disciplines. I led social work, applied social science and health studies departments. I established the Centre for Social Justice. I was Vice Chair of the Joint University Council Social Work Education Committee; led the writing of a long term strategy for social work research and contributed to the development of the discipline of social work at a national level in a variety of ways. I founded the international Social Work and Health Inequalities Network which has over 350 members in over 25 countries and co-wrote the health policy of the International Federation of Social Workers. After retirement from full time work I am pursuing work on child welfare inequalities. I have published 5 books and over 50 peer reviewed articles and book chapters. 

  • Mason, W., and Bywaters, P. (2016) ‘Poverty, child abuse and neglect: patterns of cost and spending’. Families, Relationships and Societies 5 (1), 155-161. 
  • Bywaters, P., Brady, G., Sparks, T., Bos, E., Bunting, L., Daniel, B., Featherstone, B., Morris, K., and Scourfield, J. (2015) ‘Exploring inequities in child welfare and child protection services: explaining the ‘inverse intervention law’. Children and Youth Services Review 57, 98-105.
  • Bywaters, P. (2015) ‘Cumulative jeopardy? A response to Brown and Ward’. Children and Youth Services Review 52, 68-73.
  • Bywaters, P.,  Bunting, L., Davidson, G., Hanratty, J., Mason, W., McCartan, C., and Steils, N. (2015) 'The relationship between poverty, child abuse and neglect: an evidence review'
  • Bywaters, P., Brady, G., Sparks, T., and Bos, E. (2014) Inequalities in child welfare intervention rates: the intersection of deprivation and identity, Child and Family Social Work, online advanced access
  • Bywaters, P., Brady, G., Sparks, T., & Bos, E. (2014a) Child welfare inequalities: new evidence, further questions. Child & Family Social Work, doi:10.1111/cfs.12154. 
  • Bywaters, P. (2015) 'Inequalities in child welfare: Towards a new policy, research and action agenda'. British Journal of Social Work (2015) 45 (1) 6-23.
  • McLeod, E., and Bywaters, P.W. (2000) Social Work, Health and Equality. London: Routledge.
  • Bywaters, P., Napier, L., and McLeod, E. (eds.) (2009) Social Work and Global Health Inequalities. Policy and Practice Developments. Bristol: Policy Press.
  • Bywaters, P.W. (1986) 'Social Work and the Medical Profession: Arguments Against Unconditional Collaboration'. British Journal of Social Work 16, 661-677.
  • Bywaters, P.W., Ali, Z., Fazil, Q., Wallace, L.M., and Singh, G. (2003) 'Attitudes towards disability amongst Pakistani and Bangladeshi parents of disabled children in the UK: considerations for service providers and the disability movement'. Health and Social Care in the Community 11 (6), 502-509. 
  • Bywaters, P. (2009) 'Tackling Inequalities in Health: A Global Challenge for Social Work'. British Journal of Social Work 39, 353-367.
  • McLeod, E., Bywaters, P.W., and Cooke, M. (2003) 'Social Work in Accident and Emergency Departments: A Better Deal for Older Patients' Health?'. British Journal of Social Work 33 (6), 787-802. Available from
  • Bywaters, P.W. (1991) 'Casefinding and Screening for Social Work in Acute General Hospitals'. British Journal of Social Work 21 (1), 19-39.
  • Letherby, G., and Bywaters, P. (eds.) (2007) Extending Social Research. Buckingham: Open University Press.
  • Bywaters, P. (2008) 'Learning From Experience: Developing A Research Strategy For Social Work In The UK'. British Journal of Social Work 38 (5), 936-952.
  • Bywaters, P. Cumulative jeopardy? A response to Brown and Ward. Children and Youth Services Review, online, doi: 10.1016/j.childyouth.2015.03.001
  • The relationship between poverty, child abuse and neglect
    A rapid evidence review of the relationship between poverty and child abuse and neglect. To what extent is there evidence that poverty increases the amount of child abuse and neglect, and/or affects the nature of child abuse and neglect. How does this occur, how large are these effects and to whom do they apply? To what extent is there evidence that child abuse and neglect increases poverty later in life, how large are these effects and to whom do they apply? 
  • Identifying and Understanding Inequalities in Child Welfare Intervention RatesThe long term aim of the project is to establish child welfare inequalities as a core concept in policy making, practice and research in the UK and internationally. This will involve a paradigm shift from a dominant focus on individual risk, parenting skills and related professional behaviours to include the analysis of populations, social structures and welfare systems. Achieving this requires constructing the evidence base, developing and testing theoretical frameworks, building research capacity and capability, engaging relevant audiences and embedding inequalities thinking in structures. This project takes the form of a set of closely linked studies utilising both quantitative and qualitative methodologies.
  • Deprivation and Children’s Services’ outcomes. What can mapping Looked After Children and children on Child Protection Plans tell us? The aim of this study was to examine the role of deprivation in explaining differences in key children's services' interventions between and within local authorities (LAs)

Paul Bywaters and Geraldine Brady have established the Child Welfare Inequalities Network. To join the Network go to and search for Child Welfare Inequalities or email

 Queen’s Award for Enterprise Logo
University of the year shortlisted
QS Five Star Rating 2020