Happier Healthier Professionals – Increasing Diversity in Social Work Management

This online study aims to understand the effectiveness of two interventions designed to reduce bias in the evaluation of candidates for managerial roles within Children's Services. We make use of fictitious applications and ask participants to evaluate the strength of candidates, randomising participants to one of two evaluation conditions to determine firstly whether any racial bias is present in responses, and secondly whether the mode of evaluation has any impact on the bias in responses.


Randomised controlled trial / In progress

Estimated completion

August 2021

Focus areas




This research protocol outlines the design of two online experiments which make up part of the Happier Healthier Professionals programme. We aim to test the effectiveness of two interventions designed to debias decision-making when evaluating job applications for social worker management roles.

The first of these experiments aims to build upon research which showed that participants were more likely to fairly assess the abilities of others, rather than being influenced by negative gender stereotypes, if they evaluate their qualifications directly alongside an alternative non-stereotyped candidate rather than in isolation. We test a similar intervention to understand whether any difference was found in the evaluation of minority ethnic candidates for a social work managerial position in the joint evaluation condition. In the second experiment, we test the effect of removing information which could be used to infer that a candidate was minority ethnic (the ‘blinding’ condition) on the likelihood they are selected for the next round of a recruitment process. Similar interventions have shown to be effective in reducing bias by removing gender-identifying information, and we test whether such interventions might be effective in the social work context.