Do politicians really understand the challenges social workers face?
The Northern Ireland Association of Social Workers (NIASW) doesn’t think so and so it has challenged members of the Northern Ireland Assembly to spend a day job shadowing social workers to see it first-hand.
“I don’t think many people really understand the job or how social workers make such a difference to the lives of our most vulnerable residents,” said Carolyn Ewart, manager of NIASW.
“We are asking MLAs to spend just a day walking in our shoes so they can see the pressures for themselves.”
The association has written to every assembly member inviting them to spend a day on the social work frontline, something that Ulster Unionist MLA Robin Swann has already done.
The call coincides with the publication of the NIASW’s Blueprint for Change report, which sets out the organisation’s vision for the future of adult social care in Northern Ireland.
It highlights how social workers have to deal with excessive bureaucracy, high workloads and a lack of resources and urges the assembly and Northern Ireland Executive to take action on these problems.
We’ll have to wait and see if Stormont rises to the challenge to spend a day on the frontline but let’s hope they (and, for that matter, other UK politicians) rise to the challenge and get some first-hand experience of what their decisions mean in practice.