Chief social worker Lyn Romeo has ordered a review of the effectiveness of social work interventions in a bid to “revitalize” adult practice.
In her first annual report, Romeo said the emphasis on adult social workers being care managers had left many of them struggling to access good quality evidence about practice.
“We need to revitalize the importance of evidence-based practice in adult social work, reflecting the potential good social work has to transform the lives of those who need support,” she said.
“Ensuring we have a strong evidence base which supports social work’s distinctive role and contribution, will become even more important as we move further towards integrated working and a more diverse social care market.”
The evidence review ordered by Romeo is being carried out by the Social Care Workforce Research Unit at Kings College London. It is due to report on its findings in spring 2015.
Romeo’s report also sets out her key priorities for improving social work education and practice in 2015, including the creation of a national quality assurance scheme for the Assessed and Supported Year in Employment (ASYE).
Speaking at the National Children and Adult Services Conference (NCASC) in Manchester yesterday, Romeo said more work was needed to make the ASYE consistent nationally.
Romeo also recommended the creation of a standardised assessment process for adult social work, which would require all social workers to meet national criteria at the end of their first year in practice.
In her NCASC speech, Romeo told delegates that the Department of Health is now paying more attention to social work, partly as a result of the creation of her role.
“One of the challenges for me was going into a Department of Health where I don’t think social work had been mentioned for about 15 years, social care has been the focus and the role that professional social workers have had has been really quite quiet,” she said.
“The story internally in the department has got a lot stronger, the story across the sector has got a lot better but I think in terms of adult social work the story is still not strong enough out there in the community and with the general public.”