Editorial Comment: Tackling blurred vision

You were probably too busy to notice but the National Children & Adult Services Conference was held last week.

While funding and service priorities dominated discussions, the changing role of social work was also on the agenda. The GSCC unveiled its review on the roles and tasks of social work hoping to set out a clear vision of the purpose, value and role of the profession.

It’s a worthy aim. The rise of children and adult teams, multi-disciplinary working and new support roles, have all affected social work. And then there’s the changing policy landscape and tighter funding.

The personalisation agenda, for example, has huge implications for most practitioners, moving the role decisively away from care management towards navigation.

If a document could set out a direction of travel towards more empowered social work in the midst of all this change, and identify what was needed to get there, it would be a powerful tool. But, the GSCC’s review is not it.

Unexpectedly, the Conservatives’ Commission on Social Work – also unveiled at the conference – gets closer. It calls for consultant social workers, clearer lines of accountability in multi-disciplinary teams and more administrative support in order to maximise client time.

Where the GSCC’s review is descriptive and unchallenging, the Tories have a go at identifying how the impact and influence of the profession could be improved.

Social workers deserve a clearer, more compelling vision of the future. The review needs more work.

Related article
How does the sector see the future of social work

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Mike Broad

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