The government’s Social Work Task Force is looking for 16 current and recent practitioners to help ensure its work is informed by the views and experiences of those at the front line.
It is setting up a practitioners reference group, which will be asked to comment on emerging thinking from the taskforce and shape its final proposals on the future of the profession, due in October.
It is also planning to appoint two front line social workers to the task force itself, which currently has 16 members.
Diane Mallett, principal care manager at Barnsley Council, is the only frontline practitioner on the task force, and although its work is informed by a group of 43 partners, this comprises representatives of sector bodies, rather than frontline staff.
Taskforce chair Moira Gibb (right, as she might have looked in Kitchener mode) said: “We have been clear from the start that we want to make a real difference to the experience at the front line. We need to be informed by current perspectives from there as we interpret evidence and develop our recommendations.”
Since March, the task force has held a series of regional events to garner practitioners’ views, while members have also visited a number of councils to talk to frontline staff.
It is also carrying out a survey on practitioners’ workload, involving 30 local authorities and seven other organisations, amid evidence of widespread problems revealed by Community Care last month.
Practitioners reference group
The task force wants 16 social workers who have worked at the front line within the past two years to join the group. It is seeking an even split of adults’ and children’s practitioners and wants the group to include newly qualified practitioners, practice teachers and social workers from both statutory and non-statutory sectors. Members will be asked to attend three or four meetings and comment on task force documents. The first meeting takes place on 16 June in London. Visit www.dcsf.gov.uk/swtf for an application form, which must be submitted by 22 May.
Opinion: Social work needs you