Letters to Community Care 1 July 2010

The withdrawal of government funding for the work commissioned from the Children's Workforce Development Council on the masters degree in social work practice...

Silver lining to masters cut

The withdrawal of government funding for the work commissioned from the Children’s Workforce Development Council on the masters degree in social work practice is potentially a blessing in disguise (news, p4, 17 June, http://www.communitycare.co.uk/114698).

The post-qualifying award framework already provides this route for continuing professional development for social workers in practice and the leadership of practice. While the numbers of social workers achieving these awards at masters level is not high, there has been a steady increase in both employer and individual social worker investment in taking up these opportunities for advanced professional development.

The current pilots for newly qualified social workers in services for adults and children are not strategically embedded in the post-qualifying framework. It has been left to individual employers, the universities and individual social workers to navigate the best way of maximising the benefits for continuing professional development.

This is a symptom of the lack of strategic coherence in the development of the skills and effectiveness of the profession identified by the Social Work Task Force.

The profession now has the opportunity to build on the substantial experience of masters awards in social work practice and leadership, and as soon as the nascent College of Social Work is ready to deliver the leadership of the profession, to bring forward our own plans.

Bill McKitterick, Blagdon, Bristol


‘I’m sorry for letting the profession down’

I am the social worker admonished for viewing porn on a work computer (http://www.communitycare.co.uk/114659).

I would like to clarify that I asked that the hearing be in private for the sake of my children. I am aware our actions affect those we love but in this case I had argued that the bullying my children could face be considered more central than the consequences of open justice I face, but the conduct committee took another view and stated this clearly in the summary.

I would also like to apologise to Community Care readers and colleagues for letting down the profession.

Simon Langley, social worker


United against the Gaza flotilla attack

The fall-out from Israel’s attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla three weeks ago continues.

At its general assembly last week in Hong Kong, the International Association of Schools of Social Work (IASSW), a body which represents social work academics around the globe, added its voice to that of the Red Cross and other international humanitarian organisations in condemning the attack and demanding an end to the blockade of Gaza.

The IASSW has a proud record of speaking out on a wide range of humanitarian issues but to date has been less vocal on the plight of the Palestinians, especially those in Gaza.

For the IASSW delegates, as for so many people across the world, the attack on the Freedom Flotilla was the last straw in Israel’s contempt for the human rights of the Palestinians and has resulted in a renewed determination to fight for an end to the blockade of Gaza, and for justice for Palestine.

Dr Iain Ferguson, Department of applied social science, University of Stirling

Dr Michael Lavalette, Liverpool Hope University


Capacity safeguards misunderstood

One of the major features of the Mental Capacity Act (MCA) 2005 is the application of deprivation of liberty safeguards (Dols) into practice.

Dols requests and authorisations have not been uniform across local authorities. While applications have been far lower than expected, 38% have been authorised; higher than the Department of Health forecast. The understanding of the Dol legislation among professionals may vary.

As a qualified best interest assessor I initially found detaining under Dols a very daunting process and the legislation very complex. But slowly the issues around Dols have became clearer. A person-centred approach has helped me in the assessment process of determining the best interest of the person concerned. I have found the role of a BIA is wider than an approved mental health practitioner.

The MCA legislation presents a resource problem for local authorities and primary care trusts. This at times can put the best interest assessor into a difficult situation. Certainly, some councils have a better understanding of the use of Dols than others.

There still needs to be a better dissemination of information on this for professionals and public.

Bilal Hussain, Best interest assessor/AMHP, London

Read more about the MCA

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