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Last week’s World Social Work Day was a celebration of the common values of practitioners across the globe. But it seems that it is not just values that are shared across borders. A recent survey by the Ontario Association of Social Workers in Canada found over 70 per cent worked up to six hours unpaid overtime every week, and 63 per cent complained of work-related stress, for which many blamed increased demands for paperwork, reduced clerical support and a crisis-driven approach to practice. Sound familiar?

Tomorrow sees the introduction of a new duty on public service bodies to promote gender equality and, for the Department of Health, it appears this cannot come a moment too soon. A recently launched campaign to promote healthy eating among children from low-income families is entitled “Top Tips for Top Mums”. It is fronted by former EastEnders actress Patsy Palmer, who recommends – and dads need not read this, needless to say – “freezing fruit purees as ice lollies – kids love it”.

Spare a thought for those staff working at government criminal justice agency the National Offender Management Service. It’s a tough job, by all accounts. An insider tells us beleaguered workers refer to their place of work as Nightmare on Marsham Street, in reference to the London street where it is based. Hopefully, its move to the new Ministry of Justice may brighten things up.

Another organisation going through change at the moment is the Commission for Social Care Inspection, whose children’s function has just been absorbed by Ofsted, including the office of children’s rights director, currently held by Roger Morgan. The shift was marked by a CSCI event last week where staff looked back on three years of inspecting and regulating children’s services. A few were heard to remark that one thing they would particularly miss would be tagging along on Morgan’s pizza outings with children who use services, a treat which will now pass to colleagues at Ofsted.

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