Page 1

ÂŁ3.25 Social Work News Magazine

mysocialworknews.co.uk

October - December 2018 issue

06

The spotlight on your profession

10

26

Care Minister

SHARE model

We hear from BASW

We have an exclusive interview with Caroline Dinenage MP, Minister of State for Care.

We interview Siobhan Maclean about the new model transforming social work practice.

We hear BASW's views relating to the latest issues facing social workers today.


Social Work News

Contents October - December 2018 issue

06

08

Care Minister

Brain Injuries

In an exclusive interview with Caroline Dinenage MP, Minister of State for Care, we hear the government’s priorities for adult social services.

We explore the complexities involved in dealing with those affected by brain injuries in this interview with Steve Shears of Headway Essex.

10

12

SHARE

Social Work Circle

We interview Siobhan Maclean to find out more about this innovative model which is transforming social work practice.

This issue, our guest columnist is a residential children’s home manager. Find out what he has to say about social work.

14

18

A day in the life of

Have your say

Our popular feature focuses upon Susan Anderson-Carr, a highly experienced senior manager.

You shared your thoughts and opinions with us on the wide range of social work related issues you face in your role.

20

22

Council Spotlight

Black and Asian Leadership

We discover what it's like working at the London Borough of Newham since the restructuring of its children’s services.

Nasheen Singh shares her thoughts on why the profession should invest in more BAME leadership.

24

26

Working in Guernsey

BASW

We explore social work opportunities in the Channel Islands and how life there as a social worker differs to that in the UK mainland.

We find out from BASW what their views and opinions are relating to the latest issues facing social workers today.

Social Work News - 02


Social Work News

Editorial

foreword Welcome to the latest issue of Social Work News. Following on from our design refresh last month, we received some phenomenal feedback from readers who said the new look was “sassy and stylish – two words which can't often be used in relation to social work.”

We’re really pleased that you enjoyed the new style and we’re constantly striving to improve this magazine and make it a publication that you’re excited to read. We always welcome your feedback, so if there are any articles you particularly enjoy, or there is someone you would like us to interview, please let us know. This is your magazine, so send your thoughts to press@mysocialworknews.com

James Rook

Meet the team

Looking ahead to this issue, we’ve explored how the social work profession is continuing to evolve and develop. In our exclusive interview with Care Minister Caroline Dinenage MP on page 06, she lets us know what the government is prioritising in relation to adult social care.

We’ve also spoken with BASW about what they see are the pressing issues facing social work practitioners. You can read what they have to say on page 26. Finally, we want you to view reading Social Work News as a valuable part of your CPD. Reading our articles can be a valid CPD activity if they have taught you something new and helped you develop your skills. We keep this in mind when we are writing every single article, and we’re always looking to bring you information about new styles of working, new models of practice, new training opportunities or educate you on niche areas of practice. We hope you enjoy this latest issue of Social Work News.

James Rook,

CEO, Sanctuary Social Care

Andrew Pirie,

Owen Dye,

"The new style of the magazine has made it much more appealing and we think it really demonstrates what a vibrant community the social work profession is. Every issue is getting better and better."

"We're passionate about developing the style and content of Social Work News to reflect and inspire our readers, and this issue has been no exception. We love to hear from you, so get in touch and let us know what you think."

Amy Dawson,

Mark Nicholls,

"I’ve been really interested to learn what people think about the growing use of technology within social care. Often people fear change, but I think it’s really exciting to see how it can help an entire profession evolve."

"Every issue I learn something new about how social work differs across the UK. This issue, we’ve delved into life in the Channel Islands which was really interesting. It really does look like a great place to live and work."

Marketing Director

Art Director

Contributing Editor

Editorial

0333 7000 040 | press@mysocialworknews.com

Social Work News - 03

Contributing Writer

Advertising

0333 7000 040 | advertising@mysocialworknews.com


News bites

News bites Key news stories and announcements.

Public consultation on learning disabilities staff training

Scotland could become the first UK country to ban smacking

The government has announced a consultation on plans to expand awareness training for health and social care professionals working alongside those with learning disabilities.

Scotland could officially ban smacking after the Children (Equal Protection from Assault) (Scotland) Bill was put forward by Green MSP, John Finnie.

The training would not only cover how to provide care which enables people to reach their potential, but it could also make adjustments to the ways in which care is delivered as well as details regarding relevant legislation.

Currently, parents in Scotland are allowed to use physical punishments using the defence of “justifiable assault” but the new legislation (which has the backing of the Scottish government and MSPs from all parties) could remove this.

The consultation will seek the views of those with experience of learning disabilities, NHS and social care providers and members of the general public.

A public consultation on the Bill took place earlier this year and three quarters of respondents showed their support.

Speaking about the consultation, Care Minister Caroline Dinenage MP said: “We will consult on expanding learning disability awareness training so that health and care staff are better equipped to provide compassionate and informed care.”

The Welsh government is also considering a similar proposal and Steve Turner from the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health said “With this bill, we have the opportunity to be leaders in child protection, and to show our children the respect they deserve”

Social Work News - 04


News bites

£23.6m investment into tackling online child abuse Home Secretary Sajid Javid has announced that significant funds will be used to crack down on online child abuse and understand offender behaviour. He has declared that over the next 18 months, £21m will be provided, allowing law enforcement agencies to tackle the growing issues relating to online grooming as well as videos and images of abuse. A further £2.6m will be used to help child protection organisations to better understand offender behaviour and how to prevent future offending. The investment comes after the National Crime Agency revealed that they had received 82,000 referrals for images of child sexual abuse in 2017, and that police are arresting 400 people per month for crimes relating to CSE and child abuse.

Speaking about the investment, Sajid Javid said: “I want to see a more effective partnership between technology companies, law enforcement, the charity sector and government so that we can be confident in our response to these crimes." Mr Javid also stated that he believes technology firms have a duty to block child sexual abuse material as soon as it is detected; stop child grooming taking place on their platforms; work with the government to shut down live-streamed child abuse; help law enforcement agencies deal with the issue; and share best practice and technology with other companies.

BASW have launched the next phase of their 80:20 campaign

Secretary of State launches new digital platform for health and care staff

Last issue, we shared details of BASW’s 80:20 campaign which is aiming to reduce the amount of time social workers spent on administrative tasks compared to direct work with service users.

Health and Social Care secretary Matt Hancock has launched a brand new digital platform called “TalkHealthandCare” which has been designed to allow health and care staff the opportunity to voice opinions, share ideas and ask questions to the government.

The campaign is proving to be extremely popular, and BASW are now encouraging local authorities to share their models of best practice which directly increases the amount of time social workers spend with children and families. You can read more about BASW’s campaign in our exclusive article with BASW England manager Maris Stratulis on page 26.

The platform, which is available on computers, phones and tablets, will continually be updated to reflect the views of frontline workers. “TalkHealthandCare” will be seeking input into issues such as how to improve shift patterns and work/life balance, how to use new technologies to reduce unnecessary paperwork and training and development.

Share your news! Simply email press@mysocialworknews.com if you have a story you wish to share with us. Social Work News - 05


Caroline Dinenage MP

Care Minister Caroline Dinenage shares her views In our exclusive interview with Caroline Dinenage MP, Minister of State for Care, we find out more about the government’s key priorities for adult social services. At the start of 2018, Caroline Dinenage MP was appointed to the role of Care Minister. Her responsibilities include overseeing all aspects of adult social care, working with community health services and health and social care integration. We caught up with her to find out how her first year in the role has been and what we can expect to see from the government as it prepares to publish its green paper on adult social care.

You’ve been working as the Care Minister since the start of the year. What has been the biggest challenge so far and what do you hope to achieve looking ahead?

Caroline Dinenage

In June, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) launched the Carers Action Plan, a long-awaited document containing targeted actions to support our unpaid carers over the next two years, ahead of the social care green paper which will look at longer term reform. When I started in my role as Care Minister I felt strongly that the plan needed to be cross government, so it could look at carers’ needs holistically, focusing not just on their physical health but also employment, education and wellbeing. I’m pleased to say that as part of a mark of the Government’s commitment to carers, five Ministers from across government contributed to and are investing in the plan, which they signed alongside DHSC. My priorities going forward will be delivering the social care green paper, nurturing the social care workforce, improving community health services and ensuring working age adults with care needs are supported.

My aim is to support employers to do more to retain and support existing staff by giving them a sense that they can build a long-term career within the social care sector, while also encouraging people to join. Another vital issue is the need for better overall integration of our fragmented health and social care system. We know that across the country there are impressive examples of innovative working by local authorities but there’s more to do and the upcoming social care green paper will look at this alongside the long-term NHS plan.

Health Minister Matt Hancock revealed in his first major speech that he wants to see a “culture of mutual respect” between health services and social care. As the green paper was delayed coinciding with the NHS plan, can we expect to see a new integrated health and social care system develop rather than operating as two separate services? Although they will remain separate services, health and

What are the government’s biggest priorities when it comes to adult social care?

social care are still linked and reforms must be aligned -

One of the biggest priorities is how we sustain and grow our most important asset: the 1.45 million people who work in adult social care.

first time we will also publish a joint NHS and social care

Social Work News - 06

that’s why the Green Paper will be published in the autumn alongside the NHS plan. A key plank of the NHS plan will be better integration of the two services and for the 10-year workforce strategy with the needs of both sectors considered together.


Caroline Dinenage MP

As the population gets older, there are more pressures on adult social care services. Do you think there will come a time when people start taking out ‘social care insurance’ to ensure that there is enough money to pay for any care they may need? In developing the green paper, we are drawing on best practice of what works to create a diverse, vibrant and stable English care market; but we also need to ensure individuals are supported with the costs of care, in a way that is fair to all generations. The green paper will set out reforms that introduce an element of risk-pooling in the system, so individuals have greater security when it comes to the cost of care.

Matt Hancock is clearly keen to invest in new technologies to transform the health sector; do you think that social care services will adopt new technologies as a way to reduce admin constraints and spend more face-to-face time with people?

shift, giving them more time to care. I’d like to see more providers adopting innovative approaches like this. As part of the our £98m Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund investment in ‘healthy ageing’ we are also growing the market for innovative products and services that support older people to maintain independence and quality of life. Some of this will be scaling up simple technologies we expect in other walks of life – such as WiFi and digital communications - but we also want to spur the development of new, ambitious

“Although they will remain separate services, health and social care are still linked and reforms must be aligned” Technology has a big part to play in

technologies such as virtual assistance, smart

transforming how health and care services are

homes and big data which could transform

delivered in a way that benefits both patients

the lives of individuals and families.

and staff and for this reason it is one of our

How much liaison do you have with the two chief social workers, Lyn Romeo and Isabelle Trowler?

new Secretary of State’s early priorities. Matt Hancock and I have both visited Bridgeside Lodge social care home in Islington, London and seen first-hand how they have harnessed new technologies to

I work closely with the Chief Social Worker

improve care. For example, they use an

for Adults, Lyn Romeo, to ensure we have the

electronic care planning system on a phone

right number of social workers with the right

which gives clinical staff better data about

skills to work in increasingly complex roles.

what’s happening to each patient, saves costs,

Chief Social Worker for Children and Families

and saves each nurse an estimated hour per

Isabelle Trowler is based in the Department

Social Work News - 07

of Education (DfE) and although there are different issues and challenges for child and family and adult social work, social work is a single profession and we work closely together to raise the status and standing of the whole profession.

Do you think there is enough public understanding of the work that social workers do, and how can we raise the profile of social work? With DfE, we have created a new, bespoke regulator, Social Work England. Focused purely on social work, this bespoke regulator will cover the whole profession and have public protection at the heart of of its work. As a social work specific regulator, it will be able to develop an in-depth understanding of the profession and use this to set standards for the knowledge, skills, values and behaviours required to become and remain a registered social worker. I believe it will play a key role in promoting public confidence in the profession and raise the status of social work. Principal Social Workers, now in place in nearly all local authorities, are also responsible for standard-setting, promoting professional leadership and raising the profile of social work in their organisations, communities, and with other professionals. This should help put excellent social work practice on the map.


Brain injuries

Understanding Brain Injury. There’s more to it than you might think Having a brain injury can leave people incredibly vulnerable, more so because their injuries are often ‘hidden’. Brain injury trainer and accredited psychotherapist, Steve Shears, from Headway Essex explains why.

The term ‘hidden disability’ has received a great deal of attention of late; a renewed focus on mental health has firmly put it under the spotlight. Working in social care, you’ll be familiar with identifying dementia or a potential mental health crisis, but how do you spot the hidden aspects of brain injury?

What makes brain injury a hidden disability? When brain injury affects the parts of the brain that control physical movement or speech, the case for support is much more apparent. Or during a social care assessment it may be clear that a person has a memory issue or perhaps behavioural problems due to impairment of the higher cognitive functions of the brain. Sometimes though, damage to the parts of the brain that control our executive functions (social and thinking skills) are subtler, yet the impact is just as profound. This damage is often referred to as ‘hidden disability’ because it is less apparent and in danger of being missed during a social care assessment. For example, a person with executive function problems may lack insight into their own difficulties and yet they say they can cope with day-to-day life. They might even be able to describe how they do various tasks. People close to them may of course say that the person is not doing very well at all with certain tasks and may dispute what they have said.

Social Work News - 08


Brain injuries

What are the risks of missing the ‘hidden’ aspects of brain injury? As a social worker, you might not have known the person before their brain injury. For what might come across as being egocentric or reckless, could be alarmingly out of character for that person. It can be incredibly difficult for carers too; they often become frustrated and stressed by their loved one’s lack of insight into their own problems. This is particularly the case where the person is putting themselves in situations of risk but lack the insight and understanding to appreciate this. An example of this may be that the person believes they know how to cross the road safely. They might be able to describe how to do it but in reality, they are likely to walk straight across the road without looking. It can be incredibly difficult for carers alone to manage such risks. If relationships do break down due to ‘hidden’ behavioural challenges, there’s a real risk of social isolation. When coupled with barriers of returning to work and reduced income, there’s a real risk of a poor outcome.

As a social worker, what specific knowledge will you need? Beyond the range of skills that social work training and practice provides, you’ll need a good understanding of the effects of acquired brain injury, particularly those that impact the executive functions that control behaviour. After all, post-hospital cognitive rehabilitation can be quite a scary and isolating time for families. Often, the social worker is the only support available and with many service users falling under eligibility criteria for certain services, it’s worth familiarising yourself with your local and national brain injury resources. Most counties will have a local Headway charity affiliated with Headway UK. At Headway, we understand that even after having post-acute rehabilitation it can be incredibly difficult for somebody to adjust to living back in the community. They will be faced with fresh challenges they

might not be able to cope with unless they have the right support. Headway Essex, for instance, offers a help-line for brain injury survivors and their carers. There’s also a great tool - Brain Injury Needs Indicator (BINI) – from the Brain Injury Rehabilitation Trust (BIRT), which is referred to in the 2014 Care Act Guidance (6.43). This is useful if you conduct mental health assessments. It can help you understand the overlap between acquired brain injury and mental health difficulties.

Tell us more about your training During the one-day "Understanding Brain Injury" course, I equip health and social care colleagues with a jargonfree understanding of the causes and effects of acquired brain injury to enhance their social care assessments. I provide insight into post-acute cognitive and behavioural rehabilitation strategies with real-life examples and video interviews. Delegates attending the training also leave better informed of local resources available.

About the author Steve Shears, MSc Psychology, Bsc (Hons) Psychology, Dip PST, HG Dip MBACP Steve Shears works for Headway Essex and is a renowned a psychotherapist and trainer in a whole range of brain injury and behavioural issues. Steve is former Training Manager for Headway UK, the brain injury association Headway Essex is affiliated with. He is also an accredited Counsellor/Psychotherapist with the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy.

Update your knowledge Headway Essex’s next training course will take place on Thursday 25 October in Colchester, Essex. The cost of the course is £75 + VAT per person (including lunch). Alternatively, bespoke courses can be delivered. To find out more either email admin@headwayessex.org.uk, call 01206 547616 or visit headwayessex.org.uk

Social Work News - 09


Finding out about SHARE – an innovative new social work model We speak to Siobhan Maclean, a social worker, trainer and independent publisher to find out about her passion for continued learning and development. In our exclusive interview, she not only talks to us about her innovative SHARE model of social work, but she also explains how her brand-new app can be used to transform social work practice.

“I always wanted to be a social worker. I remember when I was about thirteen, telling the careers advisor at school that it was what I wanted to do – at that time, no one went into social work straight from school and it was suggested that perhaps I should join the Navy instead!” says Siobhan Maclean with a laugh. Siobhan has had an interesting and varied career; originally qualified as a social worker almost thirty years ago, she’s spent time working as a practice educator and a social work trainer before launching her independent publishing company Kirwin Maclean Associates in 1999. When speaking with Siobhan, it’s clear that she is extremely passionate about what she does, and she has a firm belief in the importance of continual learning and training. She says: “By its very nature, social work is an incredibly busy and demanding role, but people need to take the time to do training as it helps to keep them focused on why they do what they do. I honestly believe that training and development is the biggest issue in recruitment and staff retention right now, so it’s vital that local authorities recognise and pay attention to it.” Siobhan’s experience and understanding of social work was tested in 2013 when she suffered a major stroke. Being in the position of a service user helped her to really understand simple notions which she had taught for years. “When I was running training courses, I’d always discuss

the power of language and how word choice can change the way people feel about themselves. I used to say that words like “feeding”, “mobilising” or “transferring” could be considered de-humanising and although I knew this was true intellectually, it was still shocking to hear those phrases and terminology said about me when I was lying in the hospital bed. Those words really do strip you of any hope or dignity and profoundly change the way you feel. “My stroke made me value more what experts with experience can bring to social work education. That’s why I’m currently working on a project encouraging adults who have been through the care system to publish their stories, so we can explain the sense of powerlessness and reinforce relationships-based social work.”

Social Work News - 10


SHARE

One project that Siobhan is immensely proud of is the development of the SHARE model of social work. Based around five key components (Seeing, Hearing, Action, Reading and Evaluation), the innovative model is designed to ensure that the diversity of voices within social work are heard. Created by Siobhan alongside Jo Finch and Prospera Tedam, the model was initially conceived as a way of combining social work practice with ongoing practice learning opportunities. Siobhan Maclean

“When we started working together, we each felt that many models of practice were quite limited. We initially wanted to establish a flexible model which would focus upon assessments. We felt that this was a common thread for practice educators– after all, you assess service users as well as students. “We developed the content from over 40 contributors, so we see this very much as a ‘stakeholder informed’ model which is why it is so relevant to so many different teams. We’ve had feedback that it’s been used for reflective practice as well as assessments. We also heard that a mental health team were using it to support their work” The resulting book, “SHARE: A new model for social work” has been carefully designed by Siobhan and her co-authors to be as interactive and visual as possible. Full of infographics, pictures and creative activities, the book is designed to be fully functional, yet easily digestible. Siobhan says: “After my stroke, the hardest part of my recovery was re-learning how to read and write. I quickly found that visual techniques made it much easier and it gave me much more empathy for people who are affected by issues such as dyslexia. When writing the book, we were also very conscious that social workers don’t have time to sit and read through reams of heavy text – that’s why the book has been created to be short and snappy, allowing readers to dip in and out when they have time.” Alongside her busy workload delivering social work training and publishing books, Siobhan has also spent the last two years developing a unique mobile app designed to help social workers learn more about theory and critical reflection – two key areas of her ongoing training work. Siobhan describes the app as an “extension” of her faceto-face training seminars. With nine interactive sections including “theory of the week”, “critical reflection”, “Q+A” and “lightbulb moments”, Siobhan has taken careful consideration to ensure that the app is suitable for

which may be relevant to that specific case. Siobhan suggests that this interactive process is not only good for improving practice, but the app will also store details of the work making it easier to track ongoing CPD activities. Speaking about the app, Siobhan says: “At the moment, I think there is still scepticism of how new technology will start to change the ways in which we work. There is a lot of information published about how home assistant devices such as Alexa/Siri can support service users but not much has been written about how technology can support social workers themselves. “This app is a real passion for me – the content is constantly evolving and updating, and I want social workers to view this as an additional resource which can be found in their pocket!”

Get involved in SHARE SHARE: A new model for social work, £20 Available to purchase directly from kirwinmaclean.com

social work practitioners at all stages of their careers.

Download the App

The most popular feature however, is the “envelope

Social work theory app - your critical friend, £3.99 The app is available on iOS and android devices.

activity” which encourages users to input anonymous details about a piece of work. The app will then provide the user with information about theories and models

Social Work News - 11

Get it on Google Play or direct from the App Store.


Social Work Circle

Between a Rock and a Residential Place

This issue, our ‘Social Work Circle’ column hears from the viewpoint of a residential children’s home manager. CJ Thompson explains the pressures that residential home staff face and discusses how social workers can work with them to support children and young people. “Social Care is an ever demanding and difficult sector; with unprecedented times of austerity and higher levels of need, it provides an even greater challenge for workers to give the appropriate care for children and young people who find themselves Looked-After. One issue that adds further unnecessary complexity to this division is that there are different governances and priorities for different sectors, such as residential children’s homes. Their inspection process has quite specific and different elements, which involves among other things, monthly checks such as the Regulation 44 requirements.

It may come as a surprise to many that the manager of a residential home does not always have full control of their home. While under immense pressure, managers are held highly accountable for the home, yet some in senior hierarchy roles are able to dictate elements in the home. Stranger still, managers bare the main responsibility as some of these higher positions, which can directly implement decisions, are void of the same accountability. As a children’s home manager, you can be cautioned and questioned under PACE (Police And Criminal Evidence), with further consequences potentially extending to criminal proceedings, high fines and even imprisonment!


Social Work Circle

Want to find out more? “Fractured Care” is available from Amazon for just £6.99

Handing Over the Baton

To Me, To You

Whatever role you are in, you will recognise the urgency faced when a placement is needed for a young person - more often than not, it is at the last minute and, as it is with everything we do, URGENT!

For those who have never spent any quality time in a residential home it can be difficult to really understand the challenges both the workers and young people face. To many, a children’s home probably conjures up a picture of a comprehensive care package, but the reality is far from.

As a social worker you may place young people in a home with the view that it will be a stable and safe environment for the individual, passing the baton of care to the children’s home. However, children’s homes are themselves at the mercy of external decisions, not just those of financial shortage as all social care is. The placement of individuals in the home habitually conflict with the care of another child already living there and even if the home is settled at the time of placement this can change imminently.

Check Mate! For those young people in a residential home it becomes a chess game with one life sacrificed for another, as others are placed in the home, sometimes with conflicting behaviours that cause further damage to an already vulnerable child. This is often done without (or minimal) consultation by residential services. Even when there is a conflicting behaviour known, the voice of the home’s management and the child’s social worker holds little weight when vacant placements are in such high demand. This can lead to some exceptionally damaging situations and a constant life of hyper vigilance for children in that home. A far cry from the relaxed, caring and protective home it is intended to be.

There are few external provisions that offer the level of support needed, and those available rarely see a home as a settled or stable placement to begin any work needed.

worker with requests for transport, contact, health appointments and even the mundane, such as a child wanting to dye their hair.

The Award for Best Supporting Worker goes to… Such imbalances are why so many residential workers/managers know the young people extensively, have incredible insight into their behaviour and motives, but are often devalued as their hands are tied by conflicting regulations and accountability, and all of this often begins as early as the homes initial

The catch 22 situation is that young people are often refused a suitable placement until they get the appropriate help.

admittance paperwork.

In addition to this there are extensive logistical challenges as staffing ratios and multiple placements see a tug of war type conflict arise when young people have a variety of needs that each demand time and resources to appropriately meet their basic care on a daily basis, let alone in times of

but the reality is that there are many restrictive

I wish I could say that residential homes are a fully encompassing place for a young person elements, and when a child is placed in a home there are still a lot of requirements and demands for the social worker in order for the Manager, staff and home to meet the needs of the child, and the homes stringent regulations/governance.

“For those young people in a residential home it becomes a chess game with one life sacrificed for another” crisis. Workers are often solely responsible for supporting young people through difficult times and strive to be a constant in their life as a parental role, but to support one means another goes without. In addition, workers must seek permission for basic care elements which results in repeated calls to the social

Social Work News - 13

I would encourage any social worker to spend time with a residential home manager in order to understand their role and requirements. You are often the first port of call, a vital part in supporting the home maintain its requirements to operate, as well as the daily care of young person in that home."


Work Life

Work Life A day in the life of a social care senior manager

Susan Anderson-Carr is a highly experienced social care senior manager, delivering strategic and operational leadership with specialisms in children's and adults' health and care integration, strategic commissioning, safeguarding, service transformation and programme management.

Social Work News - 14


Work Life

Susan Anderson-Carr

My journey into social work

Lessons I've learnt

My brother became quadriplegic at the age of 15, which

Safeguarding underpins all practice in health and social

gave me personal experience of the health and social care

care. We need to promote a culture of accountability

system at a relatively young age. When I was at school,

and responsibility to ensure that vulnerable people are

the three areas identified for me as potential career paths

always protected and treated with respect and empathy.

were social care, health or law. I originally studied Law at

It's important that health and social care professionals

university, but soon after graduating I realised that the law

consider the 'whole person', focusing on the patient's

profession wasn't for me. I felt that I wanted to utilise my

welfare and choices as well as their medical needs. All too

legal skills in a more socially relevant career, so I decided

often that doesn't happen, either because the pathways

to study for a Diploma in Social Work and Masters Degree

are not clear or because of a failure in communication and

in Applied Social Science (Community Care)

integrated working.

While studying I became operational lead for a company

Person-centered care is one of the cornerstones of the

that provided domiciliary care, nursing and residential

Care Act and a key objective of the health and social care

Care Homes services which reassured me that I had made

integration strategy.

the right career choice. Having achieved my Diploma and Master's qualifications, I joined Blackpool Council's social

The most challenging part of my job

care team as a Generic Adults Social Worker. I then moved

Today as social workers we're all operating in a very

to Torbay Council as Commissioning and Contracts

challenging environment. The essential issue is that we're

Head of Service, which was the beginning of my career in

trying to deliver better care to more people with fewer

strategic management.

resources and less money. We're tasked with meeting

My typical day

key performance indicators from central government

Since 2005 I've worked on consultancy and interim

However, we're faced with the challenges of reduced

management assignments in a variety of settings around

area-based grants, pressure on local authority budgets,

the UK, so it's difficult to describe a typical day. My roles

an ageing population (many of whom are living with long-

have been predominantly strategic, involving review

term medical conditions) and increased costs, for example

and remodelling of services and programmes, as well as

meeting the new National Minimum Wage and pension

regular liaison with partner agencies, senior leadership

entitlements. Because of the pressures of the job and the

teams and other stakeholders. However, as with any social

relatively low financial rewards, we also continue to have

care job there's always a need to respond quickly and

recruitment issues and many social workers are handling

effectively to urgent situations. For example, while I was

excessive caseloads.

at Staffordshire County Council, we were faced with the challenge of dealing with 200 people being nursed on

After work

trollies at Royal Stoke Hospital during significant Winter

I'm fortunate to live by the sea in Lancashire and love

Pressures. This required all system partners to work

walking on the beach with my French bulldog, Jack. The

collaboratively to deliver the best outcomes for people in

pace of life is more relaxed here and makes a welcome

receipt of services.

change from London and other big cities. I also keep

My proudest moments

fit with regular visits to the gym. However, with a busy

As someone who has dedicated my career to helping

much time for hobbies or much of a social life in the last

drive service transformation, it's difficult for me to choose

few years. That's one of the reasons I'm now seeking a

just one or two specific achievements. However, a couple

permanent social care senior management role, hopefully

of recent examples are particularly relevant as we move

in a setting that's relatively close to home, enabling me to

towards further integration of health and social care.

improve my work-life balance.

and ensuring financial sustainability in everything we do.

work schedule and quite a lot of travelling, I haven't had

In Bradford I led the Sustainability and Transformation Plan to support multi-disciplinary working, delivering the first integrated health and social care record in England. In Hounslow, whilst Director of Integration, the Local Authority and CCG partnered to introduce an integrated domiciliary care framework based on an innovative model using 'hybrid' workers to carry out health and social care tasks. This resulted in individuals with complex needs receiving services from one Provider instead of two.

Social Work News - 15


Book review

We review the latest social work text books Once again, we look at some of the latest social work text books on your behalf. If you would like to win these books, then make sure you enter our free prize giveaway! Working with Family Carers Valerie Gant | Critical Publishing | £18.99 Early intervention, prevention and support. This book takes a detailed look at what it’s like to be a carer in the UK. It takes the perspective of those who have been a family carer (as well as those working in voluntary or community groups) as well as those working within the health and social care profession. Working with family carers offers an insightful look into how carers can maintain resilience but also enables trained practitioners to view how their own personal experiences may shape their responses to working with carers. As well as highlighting theory and case studies, the authors have incorporated a wide range of practical and reflective tasks to enable readers to evaluate their learning.

Self Neglect: A practical approach to risks and strengths assessment Shona Britten and Karen Whitby | Critical Publishing | £19.99 Critical skills for social work. Self-neglect covers a variety of issues from not taking care of personal hygiene through to severe cases of hoarding. Because the topic is vast, the quality of assessments can vary, making support planning increasingly difficult. This book describes a new risks and strengths assessment model. Developed as a support aid for frontline social workers, to be used on both an individual and strategic level. The written book is extremely visual and provides detailed lists of further recommended reading for practitioners.

Win these titles! For a chance to win these titles, send an email to press@mysocialworknews.com with the subject “book giveaway”. Simply include your name, postal address and phone number. Thank you to Critical Publishing for generously providing these text books.

Social Work News - 16


Advert

Want to improve your CSE knowledge? Join us for an exclusive event where you can not only benefit from a free networking and training seminar designed to boost your knowledge of Child Sexual Exploitation, but you can meet our friendly staff and find out how Sanctuary is uniquely positioned to help you make the most out of your social work career.

Date: Wednesday 21 November Time: 6.00 – 9.30pm CSE training: 7.45 – 9.15pm Location: Armada House, BS1 4BQ Join us for an enjoyable evening with drinks and canapes where you will meet with over 100 likeminded professionals, share advice and update your CPD activities. Benefit from a free 90-minute interactive training seminar focusing on issues related to CSE from renowned education and training group, Loudmouth. Receive a dedicated certificate of attendance for use within your CPD portfolio. Meet Sanctuary’s team of friendly staff, register your details and discover the wide range of permanent and locum job roles available throughout the UK.

sanctuarysocialcare.com/child-sexual-exploitation-training-event-bristol Social Work News - 17


Have your say

Have your say In our regular column, we share your thoughts about a wide range of topics relating to the social work sector. This issue, you told us your thoughts on how we can attract people to either join or re-join the profession, what you would like to see from Social Work England, and whether you think technology has a part to play in the future of social services. How can we encourage new recruits or support former social workers to re-join the profession? “We need to spread the word that we are all different. Society is diverse, and many people need help and support from people who can train to be social workers to enable, empower, safeguard and protect. It’s vital that we give the general public a more balanced view of what social workers do” Anonymous, Worcester “I think plenty of people want to be social workers. There are always more applicants than places, so this isn’t an issue. The issue is obtaining good quality placements for those recruited. LA’s should be told they need to take a certain number of students every year to address this gap. I think it would be helpful to have a short course for

returners and those from another country which covers the PCFs and provides a specialist pathway dependent on the interest.” Lucy, London “Hold regular meetings with colleges and schools, so that students can consider their career options at an earlier stage than what happens now. In terms of returnees we need to develop a national scheme to assist them. Employees could support a scheme similar to ASYE where returnees are supported for a year by a clearly identified mentor. Accompanying support for returnees with a tailored made training budget and engage them in recruitment so they can explain what their journey was to others in a similar position. I would also provide a 'welcome back' package like 'the welcome' package provided to new entrants.” Sharon, London


Have your say

What would you like to see from Social Work England, ahead of launch next year? “Assert the importance of social work identity and belonging. One way of achieving this is advising on working terms and conditions for all social workers. Space and time for social workers to be good at what they do has been removed and replaced with tighter performance targets. The result is tick box processing. This needs to be urgently addressed.” Anonymous, Worcester “There should be greater support and defence for social workers. Almost all issues (except proven deliberate abuse or criminality) can be put right with training and support without need for public humiliation or vilification.” Lesley, Greater Manchester “I’d like to see greater emotional and practical support.” Karen, Nottingham “They should be highlighting good practice, not just dealing with bad practice.” Annie, Great Yarmouth “Working to get the same public recognition for social work as is given to the NHS.” Richard, Plymouth “There needs to be strict guidelines for Local Authority caseload management and burnout policies. There is little to no support for us on the frontline. If we are not encouraged to care for ourselves, how can we do so with vulnerable families?” Sophie, Plymouth

Do you think new technology (such as an Amazon Echo, Google Home or even motion sensor detectors) could play a role in developing social care services? “No. These things encourage loneliness and isolation. Many older people do not have IT skills or knowledge or finances and find the whole thing intimidating. This should be a matter of choice for those with capacity and capability.” Lesley, Greater Manchester “Technology could be improved to note patterns in families/adults and flag those that are deemed higher risk for early intervention services. It would only need a piece of

“There is little to no support for us on the frontline. If we are not encouraged to care for ourselves, how can we do so with vulnerable families?”Sophie, Plymouth

“The doorbells are very innovative as they can definitely support patients/service users. Within the mental health field, a lot of what is used is technological tablet dispensers which are good. It would be great to support social workers to be able to work remotely using laptops.” Nathaniel, Amesbury “Yes, I do think technology could play a part in developing social care. For example, for those with memory impairment such as Alzheimer's sufferers, Alexa can be programmed to remind individuals about important dates. Or you could use Alexa in an imaginative way to replace community alarms in people's homes in order to alert others of dangerous situations.” Sharon, London “Yes - technology will play a key role in minimising some of the tasks and demands. If there was a system in place or a device to talk into which would complete some assessments and reports, it would be easier for social workers to do more direct work with children and their families.” Jemma, Birmingham “Definitely - assisted technology for adults

“I would like to see issues around bullying within the workplace taken more seriously and SW support groups to be set up - I would like to see SW developed by their managers and encourage a healthy working environment.” Elaine, London “A better recognition of mental health difficulties encountered by social workers and strategies to combat it.” Amanda, Colchester

technology that could produce a proper chronology (which has certain risks identified) and then send an alert to the allocated worker and team manager.” Lucy, London “I would be very wary of any form of interface they can easily be hacked. But video door bells and other assistive technology can be very helpful in terms of lessening levels of risk.” Derek, Lumsden Social Work News - 19

with physical/sensory and cognitive difficulties is excellent. It can really make a difference for adults living alone and their carers just checking apps and voice recognition technology/sensor movement for adults with dementia.” Amanda, Colchester “For some yes, but not everyone likes it, so any technology needs to be flexible and not imposed.” Pat, Paignton


Council Spotlight Since restructuring its children’s services to create smaller, neighbourhood teams, the London Borough of Newham has gone from strength to strength. In our exclusive article, practice leads Cathy Phelan and Jean Kanzara sit down with Grainne Siggins, Executive Director - Strategic Commissioning to find out why she thinks Newham is such a great place to work.

Cathy Phelan: What do you think sets the London Borough of Newham apart from other social work employers?

Grainne Siggins

It’s the commitment to invest in additional services that will support social workers in the work they are doing with children and families. We also invest heavily in social workers and practice leaders themselves by providing them with excellent training, development and career progression opportunities.

CP: How are you ensuring that our practice is continuing to improve? The training and development offer in Newham is both aspirational and innovative. An example of this is the training offer for working with contextual safeguarding, gang affiliation and exploitation which includes the provision of specialised supervision in recognition of the challenges this type of work brings. The complex safeguarding hub will be unique and innovative approach as it is working with young people who are at risk of harm outside of their families in the wider context of their community and peer groups. The interventions will be provided by a multi disciplinary team and will be based upon the model currently being delivered in Manchester.

Social Work News - 20

Jean Kanzara: Communication between social workers and senior management teams is good – how do you prefer to share news so that everyone is updated? I have established dynamic channels of communication that rely upon two-way conversations. This includes ‘ASK Grainne ‘(my weekly newsletter which provides information and updates on services), face-to-face briefings delivered by myself across all levels of the service and my management team also offer these opportunities via Cascade (our internal newsletter) as well as extended Directors meetings. In addition, Newham invests in the role of the Principal Social Worker who remains connected with the frontline service and will feed back to the senior leadership team in a dynamic process.

JK: How do you make sure that social workers are emotionally supported when dealing with complex cases? We have ensured that Child and Adolescent Mental Health clinicians are attached to each team and they support the development and embedding of our systemic practice model. This includes regular consultations with individuals, co-working and weekly group case


Council Spotlight

consultations in team meetings. We are now offering monthly reflective supervision to social workers who are holding cases where complex safeguarding is evident.

Social Work programme. There are also

Further to this, depending on complexities, we are reducing caseloads to between 16-25, which is allowing social workers to spend more time with families delivering meaningful interventions which make a difference.

Many of our Practice Leaders have progressed

opportunities to become consultant social workers or reserves with the Frontline graduate programme.

from these practitioner posts and we offer aspiring Practice Leaders a development plan with the opportunity to work alongside and shadow experienced leaders.

The council has several online resources which managers can use in team meetings and 1-1 supervision. There is a confidential council Employee Assistance service which provides counselling and advice on legal questions, workplace issues and personal problems.

CP: What are you doing to ensure that great social work practice is valued?

CP: We have some excellent practitioners working with us, how can we make sure we continually develop their skills and help them progress their careers? More than half of our social work workforce have worked in Newham for 5 years or more, so it is an excellent place to start and progress your career. Our staff say that they value the learning opportunities that come from working in such a diverse borough and that the training offer supports their development. We guarantee all staff 12 days CPD a year and have a comprehensive Practice First programme. This includes core safeguarding training, training in systemic practice – our practice model and courses for leadership.

JK: What are we doing specifically to support NQSWs as they start their social work careers? We have created small teams for NQSWs in their first year, where they are supported by a Practice Leader and Advanced Practitioner.

CP: What about more advanced practitioners like ourselves? How do we keep developing our careers? The post of advanced practitioner is already within our structure and when vacancies arise these are advertised internally to enable experienced social workers to apply. Experienced social workers and advanced practitioners are encouraged to become Practice Educators and supervise social work students through our local university partnership and with the Step-Up to

JK: We know how important regular supervision is for improving practice. What can you tell us about this? Individual supervision is provided once a month and more frequently for Newly Qualified Social Workers. Managers commit to ensuring that this takes place as they recognise supervision is essential to support effective work with children and families. In addition to individual supervision, clinical supervision to support our systemic practice model is provided once a month to each team by the embedded CAMHS clinicians.

CP: Working in social work is stressful. How can you help make sure that we all have a good work/life balance?

Social Work News - 21

London Borough of Newham invests in their staff by offering a competitive salary and providing opportunities for career development and a training package that is second to none. We also host an annual recognition event to celebrate academic and other achievements. It is important to us that we celebrate the success of all our staff, no matter how big or small the achievement. We also offer a ÂŁ3,000 retention allowance to our social workers and practice leaders.

Apply today Find out more about the vacancies available by visiting sanctuarysocialcare.com/jobs or

by calling 0333 7000 026.


BAME Leadership

Why Black and Asian Leaders are a must within todays Social Care workforce A common criticism of the social work profession is the lack of black and Asian leadership throughout the workforce. Here, Nasheen Singh from Westminster City Council Children’s Services discusses her experiences in social work and why it’s important for local authorities to ensure that their senior workforces reflect the communities that they serve.

Social Work News - 22


BAME Leadership

“I recall from a very young age wanting to be a social worker because I believed it was right to help children and families who need support. At the age of 21 years old I was told I was too young to apply for the master’s in social work as the criteria was 25 years old plus with life experience, however I managed to get onto the course at the age of 21 directly from completing my BA Hons. My dissertation was based on how social workers own values and culture impact on assessing families. This was because I was fully aware of how my own culture, religion and ethnicity could impact on my assessments of families. I found myself reflecting on what it might be like for families as well as for me as a British Indian Female from a Sikh religion.

We need to ask, what does this mean for the families and communities we are responsible for? How can we articulate their views, life experience and culture into the assessments

that can be the voice of the society in need, how can we address their problems? How can we say we understand, we have experience and that we know?

we conduct and the resources we provide?

Looking to the future

My current role as the Head of Service

I am proud to be working for a Local Authority that is addressing the lack of Black and Asian Leaders in the workforce and is working very closely with HR to think creatively to ensure the workforce is representative to the community we serve.

involves looking at Serious Youth Violence and this relates to gangs, county lines, exploitation and Child Sexual Exploitation. The number of young people who express the growing nature of the violence that surrounds them, find themselves turning to other young people they can identify with and enable them to feel a connection. Who they feel understand them and what they represent. To me, this is a telling story as to why Local

“I was fully aware of how my own culture, religion and ethnicity could have an impact on my assessments of families” I have been practicing child protection social work for 14 years. I’ve enjoyed experiencing the changes and evolving role of social work and how systemic family therapy has added value to the contextual relationship aspect of working with families to create sustainable change. Having worked in the inner London Boroughs for most, if not all of my social work career, I have seen the lack of Black and Asian senior leadership in the social care workforce.

Authorities are not as successful in engaging

Reflecting our communities

problems that young people face.

I have been a Head of Service for 5 years now and as the growing nature of the communities we serve become more and more diverse, Black and Asian leadership has become less visible within the social care sector.

When corporate services make decisions on

young people. I also believe that this is why young people do not seek support - because they don’t feel they are a representative group of what they are going through. As a result, more and more community-based groups (such as local faith groups and community based independent groups) are seeking funding to support the needs of the communities and address the growing

the needs of the young people today, they need to be well informed of the concerns, views and problems our young people face. If they don’t have a good representative group

Social Work News - 23

I am also pleased the connection to creating a sustainable impact and difference in family’s lives is being more and more recognised to ensuring we have an educated and well-trained workforce that looks beyond the issues and more at what each of the community groups need. I am currently on the Practice Leaders Programme run by the DfE and this is a step towards applying for an Assistant Directors post in the near future. If you are considering applying for a senior position in your profession, don’t be put off. Apply, push yourself and feel confident and proud of what you have to offer, not only your years of experience but your unique and authentic self. Think about setting a career plan, set your goals and start downloading job descriptions for senior positions and look at what is required and have a go at applying. Think about requesting a coach or mentor to help self a development plan and build on your leadership skills. There is a real lack of Black and Asian leadership in the workforce and you can do something about this. The new modern Britain needs you, your community needs you, and our Children and Families need you.


Advertorial feature

Exploring social work opportunities in the Channel Islands

With a pleasant climate and wonderful natural landscape, Guernsey is also a location that offers opportunities in a range of social work roles. Whether for short-term or fixed period contracts, through to full-time permanent positions, there are currently a range of vacancies on offer in the Channel Islands through Sanctuary. *Contributers name has been changed.

Working as a social work practitioner in the Channel Islands can be a uniquely different experience to those working within the UK mainland. We look at what life can be like within the Channel Islands and explore why it is such an exciting prospect for social workers looking for a new opportunity.

Social work opportunities on Guernsey Less challenging than working in inner-city areas, one social worker who recently completed a placement is Karen James* who spent three months on the island as an Approved Social Worker – equivalent to an Approved Mental Health Professional (AMPH) on the UK mainland. Employed by the States of Guernsey and based in a mental health psychiatric hospital, a typical working week saw her carrying out mental health assessments on clients, along with carrying a small caseload and providing a therapeutic input. Reflecting on an enjoyable and positive experience, she said there were areas that were challenging alongside the many opportunities. “Some laws, policies and regulations differ slightly from those in the UK, and they do take a little getting used to.


Advertorial feature

I would recommend ensuring that you are practicing within your professional remit (and within the laws of the Island), and make sure you taking into account practice guidelines from the UK. Don’t be afraid to ask your colleagues for help with them.” She said Guernsey is also looking to follow elements of UK good practice, so there are opportunities to share knowledge and best practice. “You can bring a lot to the team and people are quite accepting of that,”

Guernsey offers a perfect work-life balance From a personal perspective, Karen enjoyed her time living and working on Guernsey. “There is a very good work life balance, it is less stressful than working across the UK and you are often by the sea with time to relax with a coffee,” she added. “From a personal point of view, it is really nice – a chilled place without the hustle and bustle we have in the UK. There are no traffic jams, you can go walking after work, to the beach for a swim, or for a meal with colleagues. It is very sociable and easy to make friends because there are a lot of other professionals working on the Island from the UK.” From a practical perspective, she said that arranging accommodation before you head to the island is advisable and also being clear on tax issues. “I was lucky and had good accommodation in a nice area, but I know the accommodation can be quite difficult and a bit more expensive than in the UK.”

She added: “The cost of living is a generally more expensive with food shopping, but there is always the ‘hedge veg’ stalls where people sell produce outside their houses. “However, eating out is less expensive and there are so many good restaurants. Petrol is a few pence more, but the location is easily accessible, so your mileage is naturally much lower than on the mainland. Your salary is also a bit more which covers any additional costs.” Exploring tax issues is important as the requirements differ, depending on whether you pay UK or Guernsey tax and if you plan to stay more than 91 days. “It is best to clarify that before you accept a contract and also be clear on how long you plan to stay on the island,” Karen explained

accommodation. Once you are there, explore the island and neighbouring islands because it is such a beautiful place.”

Working with Sanctuary Sanctuary can help with many of the issues Karen raises. By offering a different perspective and a comprehensive solution, it ensures a seamless process and experience. As well as finding a placement, the level of relocation assistance is something that sets Sanctuary apart from other agencies. Jordan Seaman, Head of Candidate Experience with Sanctuary, said: “If you choose to undertake locum work in the Channel Islands, you will receive numerous relocation benefits including transport both on and off the island at the start and end of

As well as the job, Karen was attracted to Guernsey because of the lifestyle and the landscape of nearby islands, Jersey, Herm, Sark and Alderney. “It was a great experience and I am glad that I did it,” she said.

your contract, as well as paying to ferry your

Currently on a short-term contract with a similar role in Cumbria, she is considering a similar placement in Jersey. “If people are thinking about working in Guernsey, my main advice is to check out everything before you go and get in touch with housing over

coastlines, the Channel Islands is a perfect

car over. Accommodation will also be sourced on your behalf which will be heavily subsidised by the council to bring the living costs down.” With award-winning beaches and beautiful relocation option for social work practitioners looking for a change of scenery. “Classed as the sunniest place in the British Isles, these stunning islands offer attractions for short-term or long-term agency work.”

Want to know more? Sanctuary Social Care offers more jobs in more places than ever before across the UK and Channel Islands, with a variety of locum and permanent positions. Register your details at sanctuarysocialcare.com to find your next social work job role.

Social Work News - 25


BASW on the pressing issues Maris Stratulis, BASW England National Director speaks to us exclusively, letting us know BASW’s viewpoint on a wide range of pressing issues facing social workers across the country.

Maris Stratulis

Work conditions for social workers

Reducing administrative tasks

Social workers are working with people and families managing crisis and complex relationships. These people are often living with circumstances that makes problem solving even more difficult. This makes social work a skilled and nuanced role.

Thinking practically, social workers should focus on ensuring that recordings are concise, purposeful and analytical. Practitioners should try to avoid long descriptive passages unless necessary to form evidence for proceedings. However, it requires confidence in your analytical skills to be able to decide which information to put in and what can be omitted.

However, many social workers are dealing with unmanageable caseloads and increasingly punitive record keeping. This means that social workers have less time to develop relationships, make analytical assessments and have helpful supervision. All the things needed to ensure safe and effective social work. Social work employers must ensure that workloads are manageable. They need to check that their social workers are not routinely working above and beyond their contracted hours. Good quality supervision should be prioritised. It can be formal or informal, whether it’s allowing colleagues to sit together so they can easily access peer support or offering group supervision as part of team meetings or specialist clinical support. We also believe that social workers should have access to good quality learning and development which will help them feel more confident and equipped to deal with complex and difficult situations.

Social Work News - 26

Often anxiety will make workers put in as much information as possible which lengthens the time spent on administrative tasks.


BASW

We are working hard to support social workers on this issue. Our 80:20 campaign is aimed at reversing the situation where practitioners are spending approximately 80% of their time doing administrative duties and paperwork, while only 20 per cent of their time is spent in direct contact, building relationships with children and families. The latest stage of our campaign is to collate models of best practice which increases the direct time that social workers spend with children and families and share them with partner authorities. We believe that the 80:20 campaign will redefine what “good� social work looks like. This will be an opportunity to make an effective change.

Reflective supervision When workloads become unmanageable often supervision becomes skewed towards admin tasks rather than direct work, as managing workloads effectively becomes a priority for both the supervisor and the person being supervised. Focus should instead be on creating an environment where reflective supervision is prioritised and felt necessary. This can be achieved by manageable workloads and effective training in reflective supervision.

The National Assessment and Accreditation System Social work is a skilled profession, there is space for a formal CPD structure and NAAS could be an opportunity for this to happen. However, we feel that putting in place a system when working conditions are already very difficult can be perceived as punitive. Social workers are already feeling overworked and undervalued and NAAS is contributing to this feeling.

Mental health provision for looked-after children The universal health needs of looked-after children are extremely important. The local authority has parental responsibility and must ensure that it is acting on this responsibility appropriately. Children who are looked-after are more at risk of experiencing mental health problems throughout childhood and in adulthood.

Ensuring that the right support is available, when it’s needed without lengthy waiting times, and that the help can meet the children where they are and is reliable will go a long way to ensure that looked-after children have good mental health provision.

Using technology to develop social care Many boroughs are looking at technological innovations and some workers have anecdotally reported that this has been helpful. Most often it is not a lack of innovation that is impacting on practice, but that the existing IT systems are not fit for purpose and are unreliable or having dedicated social work admin.

However, work still needs to be done to ensure that social workers are represented in the media in a range of roles as three dimensional characters and not as child removing robots. There also needs to be greater media representation of social workers from both statutory and voluntary sectors to demonstrate our knowledge and skills. Looking wider than just the media, there is also some space for inter-disciplinary learning, where we speak to colleagues from education, health and police to ensure that they are well educated on our role.

How social work will evolve over the next 12 months Many practitioners are recognising the

Making sure that the basics are available would be the first step in allowing social workers to spend time with those in need.

impact of austerity on service users and how

General understanding of social work

become even more vocal in standing against

I think people are becoming more aware of the role of child protection, as the child protection process is often a plotline in TV dramas and soaps.

give us an opportunity for the profession to

Social Work News - 27

local cuts are making their roles increasingly difficult. I imagine the profession will start to cuts to public services and difficult working conditions. I also think the new regulator will take ownership of our professional regulations and drive high standards for ourselves and those who we work with.


Get involved with Social Work News! Do you have a passion for social work and a flair for words? If so, we want to hear from you!

Social Work News magazine is seeking new contributors to support our editorial team, allowing us to truly represent the voice of the profession. Perhaps you would like to write a guest column for the next issue or maybe you work in a niche role and would like to share your advice/recommendations with your peers. Whatever it is, if you’ve got an idea that you would like to see featured in an upcoming issue, we want to know about it! All contributions towards the magazine would be classed as a CPD activity and we will provide you with a signed certificate which you can use in your portfolio regardless of whether you choose to write under your own name, or anonymously as part of our brand new ‘Social Work Circle’ which you can read on page12. All you have to do to get involved is let us know your name, job title, contact information and what you would like to write about, and we will be in touch. Simply email press@mysocialworknews.com and we’ll be in touch!

Social Work News - October to December 2018  
Social Work News - October to December 2018