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Risk Assessment and Decision Making in Practice

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Risk assessment and decision making is at the heart of professional practice in health and social care.

The need to balance risk, choice and rights with protection and autonomy and the need, not just to minimise danger but to maximise wellbeing, requires a high level of professionalism and an ability to think critically and analytically.This unit focuses on risk and decision making in practice and is designed to support you in developing your skills in this area.

You will be provided with the opportunity to gain a critical understanding of a range of relevant theories of risk assessment and decision making. The teaching and reflective activities will encourage you to make links between underpinning theory and practice experience. The sessions will provide an opportunity to share ideas and experiences and will support the development of appropriate skills within a structured learning environment.

This unit is available at Level 6 and level 7 as 20 credits on the CPD framework. 

See more course details.

Key information

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Bournemouth University, Lansdowne Campus


The course involves a total of three taught days, a block of two and then one further day which are approximately a month later

Entry requirements:

Professionals working with adults or with children and young people in health and social care including qualified social workers or professionals with an equivalent qualification in an allied field.

Course details

This unit can be completed as a standalone unit as part of Continuous Professional Development or for those who wish to progress to specialist or higher specialist awards, it may be used as the first stage of those awards.

For non-graduates, the course can be used as recognition of prior learning (RPL) towards relevant specialist Post-Qualifying Social Work awards at Bournemouth University.

This unit provides professionals with an opportunity to develop their skills and knowledge in these key areas. It will equip you to meet the challenges of working in increasingly complex situations and also to meet National Occupational Standards, along with regulatory requirements, to ensure practice is of the highest standard.

Download the Faculty of Health & Social Sciences CPD framework specification (pdf 635kb)


In addition to the three teaching days on this unit, you should expect to spend additional time completing the assessment tasks. The assessment for the programme consists of:

  • An assignment equivalent to 5000 words (ILOs 1-3 will be the CPD Framework).

The unit will lead to the award of 20 level 6 or 20 level 7 academic credits on the CPD Framework.


  • It will provide you with the opportunity to gain a critical understanding of a range of relevant theories of risk assessment and decision making
  • The teaching and reflective activities will encourage you to make links between underpinning theory and practice experience
  • The sessions will provide an opportunity to share ideas and experiences and will support the development of appropriate skills within a structured learning environment.
  • The National Centre for Post-Qualifying Social Work is one of the largest providers of post qualifying social work education in the United Kingdom. It provides courses to professionals who work in a range of practice settings including Children’s and adults services, mental health and practice education.

Entry requirements

Normally students may enter Level 6 study if they have been awarded:

  • An Advanced Diploma, HND, Dip HE or Foundation Degree (awarded by a UK HEI or Edexcel or SQA)
  • An equivalent qualification (the learning outcome of which are demonstrably appropriate in terms of knowledge, understanding and skills) equivalent to 120 credits at Level 5.

If you do not meet this criteria you are still able to apply for this unit but we may ask you to complete a Study Skills handbook to familiarise yourself with academic writing at masters (degree) level. The Study Skills handbook will be sent to you when we have received your application form.

International entry requirements

If English is not your first language, you will need to provide evidence that you can understand English to a satisfactory level. English language requirements, for this course are normally:

  • IELTS (Academic) 6.5 with a minimum of 6.0 in each component or equivalent.

View further information about our English language requirements.

A number of pre-sessional English and preparatory programmes are offered through our partner institution, Bournemouth University International College, and will get you ready for study at BU at the appropriate level.

You can also find further details of the international qualifications we accept, and what level of study they apply to, on our international entry requirements page.

Fees and funding

For individuals

You will need to pay or indicate employer support of payment for unit or course fees to the university.

Applicants should contact their employing organisation for further details.

Information if you are self-funding

If you are funding the course or unit yourself or your employer is sponsoring you outside a contractual agreement, you will need to apply directly to the university.

Once you have been accepted onto a unit or course, you will be sent a payment form which must be completed and returned on or before enrolment. The form requires that payment be made in one of three ways:

  • By cheque for the full amount made payable to ‘Bournemouth University’
  • By giving details of a credit or debit card
  • By invoice to your employer or other sponsoring organisation.

Full details of the invoicing address and the name, signature and position of an authorised person must be provided. Please note that invoices cannot be raised for you if you are paying the fees.

It is possible for you to pay your fees in installments and fees must be paid either by credit or debit card.

For employers

Pre-purchased places

The Faculty of Health & Social Sciences has contractual arrangements with NHS organisations for pre-paid places on specified modules including NHS South of England. If you work within Dorset & Somerset or Hampshire & Isle of Wight you may be able to access the pre-paid places. These arrangements allow NHS Trusts to nominate the staff they wish to send on each unit or course.

The pre-arranged agreements allow individuals, such as yourself, a route to access appropriate professional development opportunities that are seen as strategically important to your organisation (in consultation with your Line Manager/Education Co-ordinator). Applications for these places are dealt with through your Line Manager/Education Co-ordinator and they will arrange for you to complete the relevant paperwork and application form. All application forms for pre-paid places must be signed by your organisation’s Education Lead


Our CPD unit fees have already been discounted based on our Employers’ Scholarship Scheme, as such these units are not eligible for the Early payment discount and BU graduate discount.   

How to apply

We offer a single point of contact for all questions and enquiries regarding Post Qualifying Social Work courses.

Please contact our NCPQSW Administration Team (National Centre for Post Qualifying Social Work) for more information:

Please note: If your fees are to be paid by your employer you should submit your application via your Workforce Development Officer so that your employer can sign the sponsor section of the payment agreement. This must take place before you can be enrolled.

If you are paying your own fees you should submit your application directly to the NCPQSW Administration Team.

Career development

We have a range of individual units at Levels 5, 6 and 7 available which you can choose from to develop your skills in a specific area of practice. If you take further units of study you can begin to build your own qualification and gain an academic award for your work, depending on your level of study this may be:

  • BSc/ BSc (Hons) Professional Practice (level 5/6)
    If you have a Diploma or Advanced Diploma you can take this course to top-up to a full degree
  • MA Advanced Practice (level 7)
    If you have an honours degree and are aspiring to be an advanced practitioner, this route enables you to work towards a Master's degree award. Depending on how many level 7 units you complete, you can exit with a Postgraduate Certificate or Postgraduate Diploma in Advanced Practice.

These options provide a flexible route to gaining a bachelor’s or Master’s degree by studying in more manageable ‘bite-sized’ chunks.

Additional information

Faculty of Health & Social Sciences

Faculty of Health & Social Sciences

Learn how the education, research and professional practice delivered in the Faculty of Health & Social Sciences make people's lives better.

Statistics shown throughout this page are taken from Unistats and BU institutional data unless otherwise stated.