Case Studies / Activities


Read the following article from Lyn Romeo’s (Chief Social Worker for Adults – Department of Health – England) blog:

Lyn Romeo’s blog – 29 April 2016 – ‘Community social work: the shift from what's wrong to what's strong’:

Step 1: Write down what key messages you take from the article and consider what ideas you can incorporate into your social work practice. Think about how this discussion of community social work is similar and different to the community practice discussed in the chapter.

Step 2: Review your list. One of the areas you have probably thought about after reading the blog is the concept of assets. The following table adapted from Foot and Hopkins for IDeA (2010) illustrates the differences between a deficits and an assets based approach:

The deficit approach


The assets approach

Start with deficiencies and needs


Start with assets

Respond to problems


Identify opportunities and strengths

Provide services to users


Invest in people as citizens

See people as clients and consumers receiving services


See people as citizens and co-producers with something to offer

Treat people as passive and ‘done to’


Help people take control of their lives

‘Fix people’


Support people to develop their potential

Implement programmes as the answer


See people as the answer

Step 3: Having considered the above now think about how your social work practice could identify and build on the assets of a community. What difference could a community development approach make? How does an assets based approach link into the principles of community practice discussed in the chapter? Think specifically about assets and the principle of social justice.

Step 4: You can find out more information about the Assets Based Community Development Institute, mentioned in Lyn Romeo’s blog, at:

Reference: Foot, J. and Hopkins, T. (on behalf of IDeA) (2010) How an Asset Approach can Improve Community Health and Well-being. London:  Improvement and Development Agency (IDeA).