Social workers need to be more confident about their professional
identity to withstand the challenge of the split between adult and
children’s services and closer working with education and
That was the message from two leading sector voices in a session on
the impact on the workforce of the formal split between adult and
Chair of the British Association of Social Workers’ Independents’
Forum, Gail Tucker, said: “Whatever we call ourselves we must be
confident about our knowledge base and our value base.
“We are meeting very well established professions [in education and
health] which have had a clearer sense of identity for a longer
period of time and with which we need to have parity of
Ray Jones, director of adult and community services at Wiltshire
Council, said social workers had a core value base, but added: “We
need to have the confidence to stand up for ourselves.”
Drawing on a straw poll of the audience, he questioned why so many
social workers were not members of BASW, saying other professions
had near 100 per cent membership of their associations.
However, Tucker, who is also a board member of the Social Care
Institute for Excellence, said social workers could handle the
challenge of the adult-children split.
She said: “Most of us have become very adaptable because of the
massive organisational change that has gone on
But Jones felt the division between adult and children’s services
would largely limit social workers to a particular field, despite
retaining common skills and values.
He said: “If you build a career in children’s services that’s where
you’re likely to stay. We will lose our currency in the other
Jones, a former generic social services director, said he would
soon be unable to apply for a children’s services director’s
He added: “Specialisation means you lose touch with the other side
of the business.”