Heard some jargon you don’t understand? Unsure what an organisation does or what a policy covers? Then read Community Care’s A-Z of social care. By Mark Drinkwater
Aiming High for Disabled Children
A government programme launched in 2007 to transform disabled children’s services.
Approved mental health professionals
Trained professionals responsible for co-ordinating and carrying out Mental Health Act assessments. Most AMHPs are social workers but an increasing number are from allied professions, such as nursing or occupational therapy.
Assertive outreach teams
Specialist teams that provide intensive support to people with severe mental illness. Staff work with service users in their home environment rather than at appointments in an office or hospital.
Assessment / self-assessment
A measure of the capabilities of an individual or family, usually on a standardised form, to determine whether they require support. Self-assessment is a type of assessment carried out by service users themselves to determine their own needs.
Peter Connelly, the 17-month old toddler who died after receiving over 50 injuries at the hands of his abusive mother, her boyfriend and their lodger. His death triggered widespread reforms to the child protection system.
See also Sharon Shoesmith
British Association of Social Workers (BASW)
Professional association that aims to advance good practice in social work and to promote the interests of social workers.
Child protection services
Services that protect children from physical, emotional or sexual abuse or neglect.
Children Act, 1989 and 2004
The Children Act 1989 provides a legal framework for interventions in families where children are in need and protects those who may be suffering significant harm.
The Children Act 2004 underpins the transformation of children’s services as set out in the Every Child Matters programme, including a statutory basis for the formation of Children’s Trusts.
See also Every Child Matters
See also Children’s trusts
The Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (CAFCASS)
Quango set up in 2001 which brought together the various family court services. Their role includes giving advice to family courts and providing representation for children.
See also Quangos
Child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS)
Multidisciplinary services for children and young people with mental health problems.
Children in care
Children who are looked after by a local authority after a court has granted an order to place a child in care, and those looked after on a voluntary basis through an agreement with their parents under section 20 of the Children Act 1989.
See also Children Act
Children’s social care
Generic term for services providing social support to children and families
Local partnerships that bring together services for children and young people in a local authority area. Trusts were part of an overhaul of services following Lord Laming’s inquiry into the death of Victoria Climbie.
Community Care Conferences
Popular learning events that form part of social workers’ continuing professional development.
The final stage in the conduct process carried out by the GSCC. Panels consider evidence to decide if an individual has committed misconduct and can remove them from the Social Care Register thereby preventing them from working as a social worker.
See also Registration
Controversial children’s database launched by the Labour government in 2009 and was promptly switched off by the current coalition government the following year. It held the names, ages and addresses of all under-18s, along with the contact details of parents, GPs and schools.
Continuing Professional Development (CPD)
The ongoing development of professional practice throughout a career. Usually neglected because of daily pressure of work.
Care Quality Commission
Independent regulator of health and social care in England. They are responsible for regulating the care provided by the NHS, local authorities, private and voluntary organisations.
See also Quangos
Deprivation of Liberty safeguards
Protocols introduced through the Mental Health Act 2007 that aim to ensure people are given the care they need in the least restrictive regimes.
See also Expert Guide to the Mental Health Act
Diploma in Social Work (DipSW)
The former social work qualification now replaced by the Social work degree.
See also Social work degree
A cash payment paid directly to a service user for them to acquire their own support, rather than the council directly delivering services to them. These payments are intended to give users greater choice in their care.
Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
A welfare benefit for disabled people under 65 with care or mobility needs.
Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
Benefit paid on incapacity grounds. It replaced Incapacity Benefit and Income Support for new claimants in October 2008.
Early Professional Development (EPD)
Training initiative that enables employers to continue to support social workers who have successfully completed the Newly Qualified Social Worker (NQSW) programme.
See also Newly Qualified Social Worker
Every Child Matters
A programme of change to improve outcomes for all children and young people. It took forward the former Labour government’s vision of radical reform of children’s services
See also Children Act
Fair Access to Care Services (FACS)
A system for deciding how much support people with social care needs can expect to receive. It aims to help social care workers make fair and consistent decisions about eligibility and the level of support needed.
General Social Care Council (GSCC)
The soon-to-be-abolished regulator of social work whose role is to protect the public by requiring high standards of education, conduct and practice of social workers.
See also Quangos
Financial incentives offered to newly qualified social workers to join a local authority. Offers come with strings attached and those who fail to complete fixed periods with the employer face having to pay money back.
See also Newly Qualified Social Worker
Clusters of general practitioners with responsibility for commissioning health and care services. Consortia are central to the coalition government’s plans to cut bureaucracy in the NHS, although critics wonder whether those GPs involved will ever have time to see any patients.
Health and social care joint working
Arrangements between a local authority and primary care trust to provide services in partnership. These partnerships often have shared targets and pooled budgets for services such as learning disabilities and mental health.
Health professions council (HPC)
Regulator of health professionals who have a professional title that is protected by law. The HPC maintains a register of health professionals who meet standards for training, professional skills and behaviour.
Support for people at home with essential daily tasks such as assistance with bathing, shopping and laundry. Typically, services are arranged by the local authority and provided by a private or voluntary organisation.
See also Day care
See also voluntary organisation
No, not what you’re left with if you’ve spilt a cup of tea on your workstation but an office arrangement where workers do not have a dedicated desk of their own but are expected to share workstations. Increasingly used by to cut expenditure on costly office space, this is a universally unpopular feature of modern office life.
Integrated Children’s System (ICS)
Set of forms and processes for documenting work with children in need. Supported by a troublesome IT system.
Independent Living Fund
Quango providing financial support for disabled people so they can purchase care or employ a personal assistant (PA). This support is designed to help disabled people live in the community rather than in residential care.
See also Quangos
Independent social worker (ISW)
Social worker who provides an independent assessment service to the courts.
A sum of money given directly to a service user that combines several sources of public funds, such as the Independent Living Fund, Supporting People and Disabled Facilities Grant. More ambitious than personal budgets, individual budgets were piloted in 13 local authority areas in 2006.
Inspection and regulation
Processes for ensuring high standards in social care and health services. The Care Quality Commission is responsible for the regulation and inspection of adult social care and health, while Ofsted have responsibility for children’s social services.
See also CQC and Ofsted
Joint University Council’s social work education committee (JUC SWEC)
Body that represents university social work departments across the UK who aim to raise the profile of social work education and practice.
Seven-year-old girl who starved to death in May 2008 weighing less than 3 stone. Birmingham’s children’s services came under intense criticism and the primary social worker involved was found to have had an alarming workload of 50 cases at the time of Ishaq’s death.
An arrangement where a child, who would otherwise be placed with formal foster carers, lives away from the parental home with a relative or friend with the knowledge of the social services department.
A range of conditions where a person has significant cognitive difficulties. These impairments mean that people with learning disabilities need additional help and support with their everyday lives.
See also Valuing People Now
Local safeguarding children boards (LSCBs)
The key mechanism for agreeing how relevant local organisations cooperate to safeguard the welfare of children. Boards are made up of police, health and education staff as well as representatives from children’s services.
Long term care funding
Funding for adult residential care that may be provided by NHS or a local authority. The challenge for these funding arrangements is that people are living longer and hence the demand for long term care is rising.
Children who are looked after by a local authority as a result of an order made by a court.
See also children in care
Teams consisting of representatives from several different professional backgrounds who all have different areas of expertise. For example, a community mental health team might have a social worker working alongside medical and nursing colleagues.
See also Health and social care joint working
A review of children’s social work headed by Professor Eileen Munro. The review will consider how effective children’s social workers and professionals in other agencies work together and will build on the work of Lord Laming’s Progress Report and the Social Work Task Force.
National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE)
Independent organisation responsible for providing national guidance on promoting good health and treating ill health. NICE was launched to tackle the ‘postcode lottery’- where some treatments were available in some areas but not in others.
See also Quangos
Newly qualified social worker (NQSW)
A programme of enhanced support for newly qualified social workers working with children, young people and families.
Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills (Ofsted)
Government department that inspects and regulates institutions in England providing education or care for children and young people.
Set of measures that allow councils to assess how well they are performing against national and local targets. Indicators are unpopular with many who feel that they focus on processes rather than outcomes.
A sum of money given directly to a service user to plan and purchase their own support services.
See also Support Plan
Post-registration training and learning (PRTL)
Training required by social workers in order for them to successfully re-register. Social workers must complete at least 90 hours or 15 days of post-registration training every three years.
Public Law Outline (PLO)
Process introduced in 2008 to manage care and supervision order proceedings under section 31 of the Children Act 1989. Its emphasis is on preventing cases from going to court through the use of pre-proceedings assessments of parents and family members.
Quangos are bodies that operate at arm’s length from government, but for which ministers are ultimately accountable. The term stands for quasi-autonomous non-governmental organisation. Government departments prefer the term less-catchy acronym NDPB, which stands for non-departmental public body.
See also CAFCASS, CQC, GSCC, NICE and YJB.
Process overseen by the General Social Care Council that ensures that everyone who is called a social worker is appropriately trained and assessed as fit to be in the workforce.
See also GSCC
Measures to control standards and conduct in social care.
See also GSCC, CQC, Ofsted
Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE)
An independent charity that identifies and disseminates the knowledge base for good practice in social care in the United Kingdom.
Serious Case Review (SCR)
A process for partner agencies to identify the lessons that could be learnt from particularly complex cases.
Sex and Personalisation
Contentious subject where some local authorities permit personal budgets to be used to purchase sexual services. A popular topic on CareSpace long before being covered in the national press.
See Personal budgets
Schoolgirl who was subject to a fake abduction in February 2008. An independent serious case review cleared social workers of blame in the case, finding that they could not have foreseen the abduction.
Former Haringey children’s services director who lost her job over the Baby P scandal.
See also Baby P
Social care workforce
Professionals and non-professionals who deliver social care services to children and vulnerable adults. In the UK, it is estimated that there are over one million people who work within the sector for local councils, private and voluntary organisations.
See also Expert Guide to the Social care workforce
Social work degree
The professional qualification required to practice as a social worker. Both the honours and the postgraduate degree route involve course work and a minimum of 200 days spent in practice settings.
Social Work Reform Board
A board made up of the great and the good in social work to implement the Social Work Task Force’s recommended reforms. Chaired by Moira Gibb, representatives include BASW, GSCC, Department of Health and unions.
Social work student
Unqualified trainee who aims to become a social worker. Not, as some social workers view them, the opportunity to get some free admin support in the office.
See also social work degree
Social Work Task Force
Task force set up to undertake a comprehensive review of frontline social work practice and to make recommendations for improvement and reform of the profession.
See also Social Work Reform Board
Law Lords decision in 2009 that found Southwark Council had failed to follow the law in dealing with a homeless teenager. The ruling stated that local authorities have a responsibility for the care of 16 and 17-year-olds beyond simply offering accommodation.
A document drawn up between a service user and a social worker that outlines what support is required and what it would achieve. This allows the service user to choose the right type of support to be delivered appropriate to their needs.
See also Personal budgets
Goals given to a social worker that can be used to quantify their output. Often resisted by social workers who are critical that they are not a measure of quality.
See also Performance indicators
A three year strategy launched in 2009 that aimed to improve the lives of people with learning disabilities. It is based on a belief that people with learning disabilities are people first with the right to lead their lives like others.
Vetting and barring
Controversial scheme for checking the suitability of those who work with children and vulnerable adults. The coalition government announced in June 2010 that the phased introduction of the plan to vet an estimated nine million people was on hold.
An act of threatening behaviour or physical force to injure property or people. An occupational hazard in social work as n ine out of ten social workers report experiencing abuse, assaults or threats.
A not-for-profit organisation with a voluntary management committee. Many voluntary organisations provide social care which is funded through contracts, grants or by service users directly purchasing services.
See Personal budgets
Work Capability Assessment
The main assessment for Employment and Support Allowance claims. It can include a medical assessment if further information is needed about an individual’s illness or disability.
See also Employment and Support Allowance
Young offender institution
Custodial facilities for young offenders aged between 15 and 21.
Method for setting a budget where all the proposed spend must be justified each year, not just amounts in excess of the previous year. Not to be confused with ‘zero budgets’, which is what some council departments will be faced with pretty soon.
Date Published: 13 July 2010