Friction as faction fights for freedom

War has broken out at universities as a group of social work
academics make a bid to break away from the control of training
council CCETSW.

A dozen lecturers met last week to discuss ‘freeing’ themselves
from the ‘stultifying uniformity’ of the Diploma in Social Work’s

In a statement they also attacked the lack of emphasis placed on
inequality and poverty in the review of the DipSW, due to be
completed on 23 February.

The University of Liver pool has already begun preparing its own
three-year social work degree.

Though such a course would not be a formal social work
qualification, Chris Jones, professor of social work at the
University of Liverpool, said its status as a degree would attract

Jones, who is informal chairperson of the group of lecturers,
said CCETSW had its hands tied as a government agency, and that it
was time for the social work world to set its own agenda.

‘We have to be thinking about the future for education in a way
that reclaims the vision of social work.’

He said the DipSW was too heavily biased toward the needs of the
statutory sector, to assessments and financial control. ‘I would be
hard pressed to describe some of it as social work.’

He accepted that universities could not undo the 1993 reforms
which brought in care management and financial assessments, but
claimed the system was not sustainable.

‘In five years’ time, when it collapses, some will say to people
like me: “What were you doing?”‘

The new courses would ‘seek partnership with practitioners – the
difference is that CCETSW insists on partnership with agencies’ –
which was expensive, time-consuming and had failed to overcome the
shortage of practice placements, Jones said.

Tony Hall, director of CCETSW, said the opposition of the group
‘suggests a misunderstanding of the nature and purpose of the whole
exercise. Fortu nately, their negative view is not typical.’

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