Dr Denise Tanner

Dr Denise Tanner

Department of Social Work and Social Care
Associate Professor of Social Work

Contact details

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

Denise Tanner is Associate Professor (Social Work). She teaches on BA and MA Social Work courses.  Her areas of teaching and research interest include adult social work/social care policy and practice; social work with older people; social work skills; social perspectives of mental distress; and service user involvement in education and research.


  • PhD Social Work (University of Warwick, 2005)
  • Certificate in Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (Coventry University, 1998)
  • Certificate in Supervisory Management (Distinction) (Coventry University, 1995) 
  • M.Soc.Sc. Mental Disorder Studies (University of Birmingham, 1985)
  • BSc. Sociology (1st class) with Certificate of Qualification in Social Work (University of Bath, 1982)


  • Adult social work/social care policy and practice
  • Social work with older people
  • Relationship-based practice
  • Social work skills
  • Qualitative social research
  • Service user involvement in research

Postgraduate supervision

Denise Tanner's current doctoral supervision covers the following areas:

• Evaluation of the teaching of communication skills to social work students
• Navigation of safety and risk by people with dementia and their carers
• Older people and carers’ experiences of ‘hospital-at-home’
• New relationships in permanent care settings from the perspective of the non-
care dwelling spouse/partner.

Other activities

  • Senior Fellow, NIHR School for Social Care Research
  • Member of ‘G8’ a group of social work academics who promote social work with older people as a specialist area of practice, requiring distinctive knowledge and skills.
  • Member of British Society of Gerontology.


Recent publications


Iqbal, A, Kinghorn, P, Glasby, J, Tanner, D & Roberts, T 2023, 'A Scoping Review of the Costs, Consequences, and Wider Impacts of Residential Care Home Closures in a UK Context', Health and Social Care in the Community, vol. 2023, 8675499. https://doi.org/10.1155/2023/8675499

Litchfield, I, Glasby, J, Parkinson, S, Hocking, L, Tanner, D, Roe, B & Bousfield, J 2023, 'Trying to find people to fit the tech…”: a qualitative exploration of the lessons learnt introducing Artificial Intelligence-based technology into English social care', Health and Social Care in the Community, vol. 2023, 9174873. https://doi.org/10.1155/2023/9174873

Tanner, D, Ray, M & Ward, L 2022, '“When it comes to carers, you’ve got to be grateful that you’ve got a carer coming”: Older people’s narratives of self-funding social care in England', Ageing and Society. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0144686X22000691

Willis, P, Lloyd, L, Hammond, J, Milne, A, Nelson-Becker, H, Perry, E, Ray, M, Richards, S & Tanner, D 2021, 'Casting light on the distinctive contribution of social work in multidisciplinary teams for older people', British Journal of Social Work, vol. 2021, no. 00, bcab004. https://doi.org/10.1093/bjsw/bcab004

Duggal, S, Miller, R & Tanner, D 2021, 'Implementing asset-based integrated care: A tale of two localities', International Journal of Integrated Care, vol. 21, no. 4, 19, pp. 1-11. https://doi.org/10.5334/ijic.5621

Tanner, D 2020, ''The love that dare not speak its name’: the role of compassion in social work practice', British Journal of Social Work, vol. 50, no. 6, pp. 1688–1705. https://doi.org/10.1093/bjsw/bcz127

Allen, K, Needham, C, Hall, K & Tanner, D 2019, 'Participatory research meets validated outcome measures: tensions in the co-production of social care evaluation', Social Policy and Administration, vol. 53, no. 2, pp. 311-325. https://doi.org/10.1111/spol.12468

Tanner, D 2018, 'Opening communicative space: what do co-researchers contribute?', Qualitative Research, vol. 19, no. 3, pp. 292-310. https://doi.org/10.1177/1468794118770076

Tanner, D, Ward, L & Ray, M 2017, '‘Paying our own way’: application of the capability approach to explore older people’s experiences of self-funding social care ', Critical Social Policy. https://doi.org/10.1177/0261018317724344

Chapter (peer-reviewed)

Tanner, D & Littlechild, R 2016, Enhancing older people's mental wellbeing through research: a case study. in C Chew-Graham & M Ray (eds), Mental Health and Older People: A handbook for primary care practitioners. Springer.


Tanner, D, Nelson-Becker, H, Lloyd, L, Milne, A, Perry, E, Ray, M, Richards, S & Willis, P 2020, Strengths-based social work with older people. in AN Menenhall & MM Carney (eds), Rooted in Strengths: Celebrating the strengths perspective in social work. University of Kansas, pp. 327-346.

Tanner, D, Ward, L & Ray, M 2020, Understanding the social care crisis in England through older people's lived experiences. in P Urban & L Ward (eds), Care ethics, democratic citizenship and the state. Springer, pp. 219-239.

Tanner, D 2019, Resilience and Older People. in N Thompson & G Cox (eds), Promoting Resilience: Responding to Adversity, Vulnerability, and Loss. Routledge, pp. 121-126.

Commissioned report

Glasby, J, Litchfield, I, Parkinson, S, Hocking, L, Tanner, D, Roe, B & Bousfield, J 2022, New and emerging technology for adult social care - the example of home sensors with artificial intelligence (AI) technology. NIHR Journals Library, Southampton:. https://doi.org/10.3310/hsdr-tr-134314

Other contribution

Glasby, J, Litchfield, I, Parkinson, S, Hocking, L & Tanner, D 2023, 'If I knew then what I know now...': a short guide to introducing new technology in adult social care. BRACE Rapid Evaluation Centre. <https://preview-uob.cloud.contensis.com/documents/college-social-sciences/social-policy/brace/ai-and-social-care-booklet-final-digital-accessible.pdf>

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