Diary – A lighter take on the working week.

The start of what I know will be a difficult week. I have unqualified staff leaving for their final year on the social work degree and they are all “so excited”. I realise at this point that I’ve been doing the job for too long (17 years) and feel the doom and gloom of age and responsibility starting to creep in. I give myself a good shake (and a strong coffee) and start trawling my e-mails. I only took Friday afternoon off on flexi so why are there so many?

I am held up in traffic and arrive late for a meeting with one of my staff who is completing her child care award. I feel guilty as I have done little preparation, however it’s not as traumatic as I thought initially – the work plan is agreed and timescales are set. My worker appears happy with the plan and feels it is achievable. Look on my desk and realise I have three core assessments to read and authorise on the electronic system – but this is being upgraded so add the assessments to my list of “things to input” – when did computer technology become so essential and, more to the point, when did I become so cynical?

I am summoned to a local safeguarding children board meeting today – immigration officials are in attendance and conflict arises due to our differing value basis. The whole thing is emotionally draining as I can’t find it in myself to think it’s OK to send a child back to their country where there is a likelihood that they will suffer harm. Legislation dictates however, and decisions are made – I do feel though by raising my head over the parapet I have spoken out for my profession.

A day full of supervision – staff have many issues and we appear to address them in a satisfactory way. The day is going smoothly until late in the afternoon the police advise they will be taking emergency action about a client – don’t you think a chat would have been nice first just to see a way around the issue? Managed to avoid drastic measures through social work intervention and alternative provision being agreed. Phew! Its an early night: my worker goes home at 6.30 – she’s done a sterling job.

A joint visit this morning with a social worker who has concerns over a family’s living conditions. Yes the home is poor, but it doesn’t meet my thresholds – mother and father are willing to work with the service – child has behaviour issues and perhaps some mental health issues. Next week’s diary shows I have a report to undertake that will analyse my team’s performance data – what we do well and what we need to improve. I’m one of those managers that don’t mind indicators and use them to identify gaps in our service delivery, but after an exhausting week my thoughts are less positive. I close my diary then realise it’s Friday – though as a working mother I know the weekend will be full of children’s activities. Feel tired again just thinking about it. Oh well, a nice bottle of wine and a trashy film solve most woes I find!

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