Dr Sally Richards

Visiting Fellow (Social Work)


Sally joined the faculty in May 2010. Before this she was a lecturer at the Universities of Reading and Southampton. Since her PhD (an ethnographic study of the community care needs assessment of older people), Sally's research and publications have focused on work with older people in social and health care settings and on issues in social work education. She is a member of Gero (G) 8, a special interest group whose members are academics engaged in research and teaching in gerontology and gerontological social work. The group work to promote and enhance professional practice with older people and their families, primarily through developing research and resources to support social work practitioners and students working in this area. Most recently Sally has worked with Gero (G) 8 to develop an online resource for continuing professional development in Social Work Practice with Older People commissioned by the Chief Social Worker for Adults. Her presentation on Newly Qualified Social Workers and work with older people and other presentations by members of Gero (G8) at a 'Making Research Count' day seminarRethinking Social Work with Older People’, are also available on-line.

Sally has a particular interest in spirituality and social work and spirituality and ageing and is on the steering group of the Spiritual Care of Older People project (SCOP) for the Oxford Diocese. Sally is joint author, with Michelle Lefevre and Pamela Trevithick, of the multi-media e-learning resources on Communication Skills published by the Social Care Institute for Excellence.

Sally's first degree was in philosophy and politics at the University of York, where she also completed her social work training. After qualifying she worked as a probation officer in Leeds.


Membership of Professional Bodies

Research Student

  • PhD student Jill Buckeldee; topic: spirituality in psycho-dynamic counselling completed December 2015

Research interests

  • Gerontological social work
  • Spirituality and ageing
  • Qualitative research methods
  • Research ethics
  • Narratives in practice and research
  • Critical and reflective practice

Selected Publications


Book chapter

  • Richards, S., Bhatti-Sinclair, K., Borrill, W., Dominelli, L., & Waldman, J. (2000), Developing Partnership in Social Work Education in Britain, in Callahan, M., and Hessle, S. (eds), Valuing the Field: Child Welfare in an International Context, Ashgate.

Peer reviewed papers (since 2000)

  • Ray, M., Milne, A., Beech, C., Phillips, J., Richards, S., Sullivan, M.P., Tanner, D. and Lloyd, L. (2015) ‘Gerontological Social Work: Reflections on its Role, Purpose and Value’ British Journal of Social Work, 45/4: 1296-1312.
  • Lloyd, L., Tanner, D., Milne, A., Ray, M., Richards, S., Sullivan, M.P., Beech, C. and Phillips, J. (2014) ‘Look after yourself: active ageing, individual responsibility and the decline of social work with older people in the UK’, European Journal of Social Work, 17/3: 322-335.
  • Richards, S., Sullivan, M.P., Tanner, D., Beech, C., Milne, A., Ray, M., Philips, J. and Lloyd, L. (2014) ’On the edge of a new frontier: Is gerontological social work in the UK ready to meet 21st century challenges? British Journal of Social Work, 44/8: 2307-2324.
  • Cairns, D., Williams, V., Victor, C., Richards, S., Le May, A., Martin, W. & Oliver, D. (2013) 'The meaning and importance of dignified care: findings from a survey of health and social care professionals', BMC Geriatrics, 13:28. doi:10.1186/1471-2318-13-28
  • Richards, S., Donovan, S., Victor, C., Ross, F. (2007) 'Standing secure amidst a falling world? Practitioner understandings of old age in responses to a case vignette', Journal of Interprofessional Care, 21/3: 335-349.
  • Richards, S., Ruch, G. and Trevithick, P. (2005) 'Communication skills training for practice: the ethical dilemma for social work education', Social Work Education, 24/4, 409-422.
  • Campbell, S., Steiner, A., Robison, J., Webb, D., Raven, A., Richards, S., & Roland, M., (2005) Do Personal Medical Services contracts improve quality of care? A multi-method evaluation, Journal of Health Service Research and Policy, 10/1, 31-39.
  • Shepperd, S., & Richards, S. (2002), Continuity of care - a chameleon concept, Journal of Health Services Research & Policy, 7/3, 130-132.
  • Ehrich, K., Freeman, G., Richards, S., Robinson, I., Shepperd, S. (2002), How to do a Scoping Exercise: Continuity of Care, Research Policy and Planning, 20/1, 25-29.
  • Richards, S., Robison, J., Steiner, A & Webb, D. (2000), What do Older People Want from Primary Health Care? In Dickinson A, Bartlett H, Wade S. (Eds.) Old Age in a New Age, Proceedings of the British Society of Gerontology 29th Annual Conference, Oxford, ISBN 1-902606-08-6.
  • Richards, S., (2000), Bridging the Divide: Elders and the Assessment Process, British Journal of Social Work, 30, 37-49.

Other research publications (since 2000)

  • Richards, S. (2017) Research review: Depression in Older Adults, Community Care InformAdults.

  • Richards, S. (2015) Research review: Spirituality and Later Life, Community Care InformAdults.
  • Steiner, A. (ed), Campbell, S., Raven, A., Richards, S., Robison, J., Roland, M., Webb, D. (2001) Does PMS Improve Quality of Care? Final Report to the Department of Health from the Quality of Care Project, National Evaluation of Primary Care Act Personal Medical Services (PCAPMS) Pilots.
  • Richards, S. (2000), Older People's Focus Groups,Section 8 in Steiner A. (Ed.) Do PMS Pilots Improve Quality of Care? Interim Report to the Department of Health from the Quality of Care Project, National Evaluation of Primary Care Act Personal Medical Services (PCAPMS) Pilots.
  • Freeman, G., Shepperd, S., Robinson, I., Ehrich, K., Richards, S., Pitman, P. (2000), Continuity of Care: Report of a Scoping Exercise for the SDO programme of NHS R&D, London, NCCSDO

E-learning resources

Book Reviews

Richards, S. (2001), Working on the Fault Line, Bradley, G. & Manthorpe, J. (eds), Social Work Education 20/6, 720-1.

Richards, S. (2004) Psychotherapy and Counselling with Older Women: Cross-Cultural, Family, and End-of-Life Issues, Trotman, F.K. & Brody, C.M., Journal of Social Work 4/3, 377-378.

Richards, S. (2006) Social Work with Older People: Context Policy and Practice, Lymbery, M., Ageing and Society 26/5, 819-21.

Richards, S. (2006) Group Work and Aging : Issues in Practice, Research, and Education, Salmon, R. and Graziano, R. (eds.), British Journal of Social Work 35/5, 867-8.

Richards, S. (2008) Social Work and People with Dementia: Partnerships, Practice and Persistence, Marshall, M. and Tibbs, M-A., Ageing and Society, 28/3, pp 443-445.

Richards, S. (2008) Negotiating Death in Contemporary Health and Social Care, Holloway, M. British Journal of Social Work 38/3, pp. 614-5.

Richards, S. (2015) Clinical Gerontological Social Work Practice, Youdin, R. Ageing and Society, 35/9, pp.2028-2029.

Sally Richards