Skip to main content

Prof Roger Smith

Professor of Social Work

BA (Kent); MA (Warwick); MPhil, PhD (Leicester)

AffiliationRoom numberTelephone
Professor of Social Work in the Department of Sociology207, 32 Old Elvet 
Fellow of the Wolfson Research Institute for Health and Wellbeing +44 (0) 191 33 41503


Following my first degree in Sociology, I went on to practice and then qualify as a social worker in 1980.  I worked as a Probation Officer, specialising in diversion with young offenders until 1988, when I went on to take up a policy role with The Children’s Society.  At the same time, I completed further postgraduate study, gaining my MPhil (on juvenile diversion) in 1989 and my PhD (on values and practice in child care) in 1995.

I moved to the University of Leicester in 2000, leading the social work qualifying masters programme there.  In 2006, I joined De Montfort University as Professor of Social Work Research, before coming to Durham University in 2012.

As a practitioner, educator and researcher, my primary area of interest has been young people and crime, on which I have published widely. I have also developed an interest in research methods in social work, particularly participatory approaches; the sociology of childhood; social work theory (notably around the subject of ‘power’); interprofessional learning; and working with people with learning difficulties.

Current areas of interest include:

a)      Participatory models of practice in youth justice

b)      Models of evaluation in interprofessional education

c)       Power, networks and their implications for social work

d)      Innovations in social work education

I have supervised a variety of Phd projects, including studies of children’s residential care, travellers and the care system, child care in Qatar, post adoption contact and decision-making in children’s services. I would welcome Phd proposals in any of my areas of interest, and in social work with children and young people more broadly.

Research groups

  • Communities and Social Justice

Research Projects

  • Policing Anti-Social Behaviour in Cleveland
  • Step Up to Social Work Longitudinal Evaluation
  • Think Ahead Social Work Qualifying Programme Evaluation


Authored book

Chapter in book

Edited book

  • Hardwick, Louise, Smith, Roger & Worsley, Aidan (2016). Innovations in Social Work Research. Jessica Kinglsey.
  • Hicham, K., Abdelhamid, B., Gaucher, C. & Smith, R. (2010). Travail Social à l’Epreuve des Coopération Ouvertes et des Coopérations Fermées: Enjeu Capital pour le Développement Humain. Université Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdellah.

Journal Article

Other (Print)

  • Smith, R., Stepanova, E., Venn, L., Carpenter, J. & Patsios, D. (2018). Evaluation of Step Up to Social Work, Cohorts 1 and 2: 3-years and 5-years on.


  • Smith, R., McLenachan, J., Venn, L., Weich, H. & Anthony, D. (2013). Step Up to Social Work Programme Evaluation 2012: The Regional Partnerships and Employers Perspectives. Department for Education.
  • Smith, R., Hine, J. & Fleming, J. (2012). Embedding Participation: UR Boss 2nd Interim Evaluation Report. The Howard League.
  • Smith, R., Khabbache, H., Berdai, A. & Gaucher, C. (2011). Report of the Second Spring Institute: Open and Closed Co-operation in Social Work. University Sais-Fes.
  • Smith, R. & Fleming, J. (2011). UR Boss Legal Service: Interim Evaluation Report. The Howard League.
  • Smith, R., McIntosh, B. & Mattingly, M. (2011). Raising Your Game: Context and Implementation. Mencap.
  • Smith, R. & Welford, J. (2010). Evaluation of Derby Youth Crime Prevention Initiative. De Montfort University.
  • Smith, R., Boeck, T., Fleming, J. & Thorp, L. (2009). Volunteering and Faith Communities in England. Volunteering England.
  • Smith, R., Marsh, P. & Forrester, D. (2008). An Audit of Funding for Social Work Research. ESRC.