‘Social workers must fight for service user rights and the profession’s soul’

cpuusage

cpuusage

ACCOUNT CLOSED
Joined
Sep 25, 2012
Messages
37,660
Location
Planet Lunatic Asylum
#1
‘Social workers must fight for service user rights and the profession’s soul’

Alliances between practitioners, service users and carers offer the best challenge to damaging policies, writes Peter Beresford

?Social workers must fight for service user rights and the profession?s soul? | Community Care

by Peter Beresford

A battle is intensifying for social work’s soul. The Conservative government seems determined to clip the wings of a profession that, at its best, can be a force for support, emancipation and social justice.

Take the succession of government criticism of social work education in recent years. At the same time enthusiasm, and financial backing, has greeted new ‘fast-track’ routes of social work training before their effectiveness has been evaluated.

See also ministers’ decision to withdraw funding from The College of Social Work (an organisation set up to give the profession a voice) and six months after its closure announce plans for a new social work body to take on responsibility for regulation and professional standards.

There are moves towards privatisation too, most notably in children’s services where David Cameron has criticised what he called “tolerance of state failure” and promised any services that don’t improve will be taken over.

The wider context

Of course these moves cannot be viewed in isolation. They are part of an ideological drive to shrink the state and decimate public services in the name of ‘austerity’.

I have recently been investigating another area targeted by the government – the welfare state more generally. Drawing on both research evidence and the lived experience and experiential knowledge of people as service users, I wanted to find out how well the welfare state’s routine reality has matched its lofty principles.

My research highlighted the need to subject the old welfare state to a much more critical gaze if we want to secure welfare fit for the future. The same is true of social work if we want to have a sustainable profession worth defending for the next generation.

Partnerships with service users

If we are honest, statutory social work has not truly been developed in partnership with service users and their movements. Instead, it has tended to be hierarchical, bureaucratic and paternalistic.

Yet there are some chinks of light. Social work has pioneered service user participation in professional education and practice. And the evidence has also increasingly highlighted how user-led support makes for better, more cost-effective policy and provision.

Social work must build on this. The profession cannot expect to command popular support if its campaigning is based on a series of don’ts – ‘don’t be nasty to us’, ‘don’t change’, ‘don’t privatise’, ‘don’t question’. Instead, the rallying cry should be this: ‘We want genuinely user-led services, practice, education and support’.

Co-production should be the yardstick

We must demand that reforms are based on, and increase, user and carer involvement. They must put the service user first. Such involvement and real co-production should be the yardstick for introducing and evaluating changes.

That is the way to get the relation-based practice and personalised support that all political parties pay lip service to (so far the record of private sector providers for achieving this type of care is far from convincing). It also undermines politicians’ efforts to argue that social workers critical of government policy are only interested in themselves and their jobs.

The frontline voice

As well as service users and carers, there is another voice too often missing from discussions about social work’s future – that of the practitioner doing the job day-in day-out. To social work’s cost, its self-appointed leaders are often senior managers or academics whose direct involvement with practice is limited or long in the past.

Social work needs to be a profession that itself clearly values practice, rather than professional advancement too often seeming to be out of practice.

There are signs alliances between day-to-day practitioners, service users and carers are being built. The Social Work Action Network has prefigured such an approach and the recent British Association of Social Workers summit involved substantial contributions from all of these groups.

Here lies hope for social work and for the growing numbers who need its help but are increasingly denied it. This has to be a fight for something, not against it. That something has to be the rights, needs and interests of service users.

Peter Beresford OBE is Emeritus Professor of Social Policy at Brunel University and co-chair of Shaping Our Lives. He is also the author of All Our Welfare: Towards participatory social policy.
 
R

ramboghettouk

Well-known member
Founding Member
Joined
Jan 7, 2008
Messages
14,178
Location
london
#2
can't stand social workers they're pushed by they're well off families into the proffession, when they finish they're degree they find the only job available is working for some council using they're training to turn people away, they can't get another job because employers see those with a cqsw as likely to turn the workplace into a workers cooperative

I've been on the receiving end of as a mentally ill guy the police feel a social worker has to be available to represent me before i;m released so as a result i have to sit 6 hrs in the cells before one arrives and rubber stamps what i still consider bigoted police,

if anything a law meant to protect me from abuses of authority made things worse
 
The Guvnah

The Guvnah

Active member
Joined
Oct 6, 2016
Messages
36
#3
can't stand social workers they're pushed by they're well off families into the proffession, when they finish they're degree they find the only job available is working for some council using they're training to turn people away, they can't get another job because employers see those with a cqsw as likely to turn the workplace into a workers cooperative.
Now ain't that the truth Ruth! My assigned social w****r is a prissy, uptight, diffident, schoolgirl from the nicer part of Birmingham no doubt, prone to awkward silences who has had a very sheltered life it seems. And then they expect her to deal with a 54yr old contract electrical site foreman with an implacable distrust of her type, minimal reserves of patience now and a 5 second fuse attached to what little remains coupled to a ceaseless anger you could smelt tungsten with. She is eminently unsuited to a highly stressed public facing role in any way. As soon as this Child Protection Conference is over I will insist that she too has no further dealings with me and insist that she be replaced with someone more robust and able to at least argue back to my face instead of running off and penning her spite into what is after all a critical and potentially life affecting document.

...what i still consider bigoted police,

if anything a law meant to protect me from abuses of authority made things worse
Well that is their job these days. Paramilitary social workers basically. They are the there to underwrite the failures of such entities as the DWP and Jobcentres and of course the NHS. You think of complaining in a public place and they will use the police's monopoly on the use of coercive force to either eject you from the premises or actually arrest you into custody. As a first stage complaints handling strategy it's a disgraceful abuse of power and inappropriate use of police (i.e. taxpayers') time taxes and resources.

The police have only recently removed themselves from the very short list of agencies in whom I still retained a vestige of faith and trust and placed themselves on the list of bodies corporate who CAN and NEVER WILL be trusted EVER AGAIN. From now on if I should see an officer being attacked or otherwise in trouble in the street I shall simply cross over and carry on to the newsagents. Fags purchased I shall walk back and step over the body without a second glance. And I used to be the bloke who would call it in if anything suspicious was spotted around the neighbourhood, wouldn't question the reflex to jump in and help a copper do his job, pffft... not now; **** 'em!
 
Last edited:
D

Dottyone

Guest
#4
Face the truth, in my area 8 of 16 were vanished or re deployed to other areas to smooth out the cuts.

I speak to my carers on their side they scared too.

Its better to plan alone
 
F

firemonkee57

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 23, 2009
Messages
8,198
#5
I wouldn't trust social workers to do anything. I had a social worker in 1981 when in a half way house. He was there for a couple of months after I went back into hospital and then disappeared off the scene. I had social worker involvement in order to be under a rehab and recovery team in 2013-14 . When the time limited help from them ended the social worker stopped seeing me.
My wife had a social worker when diagnosed with vascular dementia. The social worker closed the case after a few months. It took my youngest step daughter threatening them with the human rights act to reopen my wife's case.
As it was the social worker did fuck all to help either my wife or myself as the person caring for her.