Topss England is half way through a three-year project testing
out new roles and ways of working. Progressing through your career
you will come across three types of new roles:
- “Hybrid roles” bring together roles with which we are already
familiar. These not only crossover between health and social care,
but also involve housing and education.
- “Ordinary life roles” bring principles important to social care
practice into a variety of settings. As well as blurring existing
professional boundaries some of these roles merge formal and
informal care. Examples can be seen in the roles of community
enablers and neighbourhood carers.
- “Genuinely new” roles that come out of challenges to existing
arrangements by service users. Some of these involve users as
providers, partners, educators and evaluators.
What difference do these make to you as a practitioner? Social
care is changing dramatically and our pilot sites’ experiences are
evidence of this. Many of the pilots are trying to redraw
boundaries between professions so that services become more
cohesive. Issues raised by these new roles include:
- Impacts on career development pathways when roles fall between
different professions – often pay, service conditions and the
language and culture of the different professions vary
- The idea of the “professional allied to the community” as one
way in which the distinctive strengths of social care approaches
can be both transformed and retained.
- Developing systems that really involve service users at all
levels, including as trainers and evaluators.
Practitioners need to keep up to date with new role thinking
because they reflect service users’ expressed needs, they are roles
that demand skills prized by employers and represent opportunities
to be at practice’s cutting edge.
Vic Citarella, chair, new roles task and finish group,