Mark Chesterman

Department of Social Work and Social Care
Director of Post Qualifying Programmes

Contact details

Department of Social Work and Social Care
Muirhead Tower
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT, United Kingdom

Mark Chesterman is Director of PQ Programmes and leads the PQ children and families programme.


I joined the Department in 2002 after more than 20 years post qualifying experience in direct practice, management and consultancy. During that time I held a number of practice appointments that included working in a specialist child sexual abuse team and work as a children’s guardian.

As a manager I held a number of positions including that of Head of Performance Review for a large local authority. This job involved unit and service reviews as well as responsibility for career progression amongst practitioners, running the Staff Counselling Scheme, coaching and mentoring and managing a group of principal officers. Later I was appointed as a Special Projects Manager - a post that was essentially concerned with organisational change, but also came with a brief to develop the user involvement agenda. Throughout my time in management, I continued to maintain a foothold in direct practice through co-working cases with colleagues in the field.

Immediately prior to moving to the University, I worked as a freelance consultant combining work as a children’s guardian with organisational development commissions. This latter work included a range of service reviews in the public sector. During this time, I was also able to undertake 15 projects that enabled me to develop my skills in using the Future Search Conference methodology; as well as completing a postgraduate studies in organisational psychology. As a children’s guardian I undertook appointments covering the full range of applications but was especially interested in applications involving infants and toddlers.

Throughout my career, my thinking has been particularly informed by firstly, what I have learnt from the children and young people and families that I have worked with; and secondly, what I have learnt from various courses and colleagues. From an academic perspective systemic thinking, narrative practices, attachment theory and psychodynamic ideas have all been particularly influential. I have also been fortunate to attend a variety of training institutes to code various attachment measures.


I lead on the following modules:


  • BA1: Psychology


  • MA1: Development across the life course


  • Consolidation
  • Law (part two)
  • Assessment and risk
  • Change and transitions
  • Coaching for managers
  • Leading for effective safeguarding: train the trainers
  • IRO and independent Chairs module

I also contribute to teaching on the Child Centred Practice module, the Stage 2 Practice Education module and to a module on the Adults PQ programme.

Other activities

Examples of recent consultancies and evaluations:

2015: Review of various Serious Case and Learning Lessons Reviews  (in progress)

2015: Young people on the edge of care – academic partner, innovation fund grant (in progress)

2014 – 2015: Public Service Academy commission - evaluation of a new software package for children’s social care

2014 – 2015: Evaluation of a bespoke risk assessment tool for a local authority

2014: Evaluation of an ASYE programme for a local authority

2013 – 2014:  Public Service Academy consultancy - parental experiences of the child protection system.


2012 (July): PQ Seminar: Does the Signs of Safety approach have anything to offer adults safeguarding work? (Delivered with Matthew Gibson). University of Birmingham.

2011 - 2012 (various dates): Attachment Minded Practice and Attachment Minded Supervision (two separate LA commissions).

2011 (January): Skills for Care Presentation: Coaching Skills. Skills for Care West Midlands: Birmingham.

2011 (May): PQ Seminar for practitioners and managers: The Promise of Deliberate Practice. University of Birmingham.

2010 (July): JSWEC conference workshop: Using Coaching with NQSWs and Practitioners in Training. University of Hertfordshire.

2010 (June): Seminar for EPD practitioners: Using Research to Promote Attachment Minded Practice. CWDC: West Midlands.

2009 (June – October): Developing attachment minded practice (Local Authority commission).

2008 (March): Cafcass research conference presentation – Promoting Attachment Minded Practice (with David Black). NEC Birmingham.

2007 (various dates): Practice standards training, multi-site public sector organisation.

2006: Consultancy aimed at developing attachment minded practice within a family support team.