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Dr Helen Casey

Profile summary

Professional biography

Helen is Associate head of School for Social Work at the Open University, supporting and  social work programmes in all four nations.

Helen has worked in social work education since 2002 when the formal commitment to involving people with lived experiences in all levels of social work education was introduced with the new degree. Prior to that, as a social worker, Helen worked mostly with learrning disabled adults, seeking to develop the innovative support people wanted in the community.

Helen's PHD research, undertaken with Durham University, explored the effectiveness of service user and carer involvement in social work education. Helen introduced the 'Mend the Gap' approach into social work education in North east England and is an international co-ordinator with PowerUs, (social work global network).

Within the OU, Helen's roles include being co-chair of the Social Work Research group, the PhD/Professional Doctorate support network and newly establsihed Participatory Research Group.

Research interests




McLaughlin, H., Beresford, P., Cameron, C., Casey, H. and Duffy, J (  2021) Routledge International Handbook of Service User Involvement in Human Services Research and Education. London/New York: Routledge.

ISBN – 978-1-138-36014-3

(b)         Chapters in books

Casey, H and Beresford P.,’ Mending Gaps in Social Work Education in the UK’

 ‘Service users in Social Work Education, Research and Policy. A comparative analysis throughout Europe’. Driessens K & Lyssens-Danneboom V, Policy Press, Bristol. (2022).

Aria B, Beresford and Casey H., ‘A new approach to equalising relationships in social work and social work learning: A case study involving refugees’

The Palgrave Handbook of Global social Work Education by S.M. Sajid, Baikedy, R. , Sheng-Li C.,Sakaguchi, H. (2020), Palgrave McMillan, New York.

ISBN – 978-3-030-39966-5

Casey H., ‘Transforming Professional training and Education – a Gap mending Approach: The PowerUs European Partnership’

Beresford, P. and Carr, S.,(2018) ‘Social Policy first hand: An International Introduction to Participatory Social Welfare’, Policy Press, Bristol.

ISBN_ 1-4473-3236


Beresford P., Casey, H. and Macdonough, J., ‘Gap -Mending: Developing a New Approach to user and Carer Involvement in Social Work Education’ ,

Chiapparini, E.(2016)’The Service user ass a Partner in Social Work Education: Concepts and Evaluations of Courses with a Gap-Mending Approach in Europe’, Barbara Budrich publishers, Berlin.

ISBN- 978-3-8474-0507-8




‘Service User involvement and Covid 19- An Afterthought’, Joe Duffy, Colin Cameron, Helen Casey, Peter Beresford and Hugh McLaughlin, accessed 14-11-2022


Community Care article; Learning from People: The Training Method Bringing service users and Social Workers Together’.’

Simpson, J., Aria, B., Casey,H. and Shenton, F.(2018) accessed 15-02-2021.

Externally funded projects

Experiential Knowledge in Higher Education
RoleStart dateEnd dateFunding source
Lead01 Dec 202130 Nov 2024EC: non-FP non-H2020 European Commission: non-FP (inc.Erasmus)

ERASMUS Funding European partnership to develop Higher education curriculum informed by people’s diverse lived experiences.


Service User Involvement and COVID-19—An Afterthought? (2022-06)
Duffy, Joe; Cameron, Colin; Casey, Helen; Beresford, Peter and McLaughlin, Hugh
The British Journal of Social Work, 52(4) (pp. 2384-2402)