Community Care and Unison are calling on the mainstream media to improve its standard of reporting about social work by launching an introductory guide for journalists.
The guidance is being issued as part of Community Care‘s long-running Stand Up Now for Social Work campaign, which aims to raise the public perception of the profession through more balanced and accurate reporting.
The two-page document features basic facts about social workers and the job they do. It has been produced in partnership with Unison, representing 40,000 social workers in the UK, the Association of Directors of Children’s Services, and other leading social work bodies. It comes after our exclusive research last year found widespread lack of understanding among reporters in the national and local press and is being issued to coincide with the General Social Care Council’s verdict on the social workers involved in the Baby P case.
Community Care and Unison began circulating the document to journalists across the UK this week to coincide with the conduct hearing involving Peter Connelly’s social workers (see box), which national newspapers have been covering.
Stand Up Now for Social Work was launched after the relentless tabloid attacks on social workers involved in the case at the end of 2008.
Bronagh Miskelly, group editor of Community Care, said: “Poor understanding of what social workers do and ill-informed reporting in the mainstream media only adds to the pressures on these valuable people.
“Community Care has produced its guide for journalists to try to minimise mistakes and misinformation when high- profile cases such as the sad death of Peter Connelly are reported.
“If the media understands and explains how the social work system operates it will also help people raise concerns when things do go wrong.”
The guide has been issued alongside a press release stating our joint intention to press for the newly-formed coalition government to support the Social Work Reform Programme for England.