Community Care blog archive

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Community Care no longer publishes blogs but links to our historic blogs can be found below.

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The lessons to be learnt from three recent high profile child abuse cases

In less than a month two high profile serious case reviews and a criminal trial have concluded, which all involved a mother killing one of her children, despite the involvement of several agencies in the child’s life. The first was the case of Daniel Pelka, a four-year-old living in Coventry who was singled out for […]
Posted: October 7, 2013, 3:13 pm

Serious case review into murdered foster carer finds unusually good progress should ring alarm bells

Social workers should be cautious if an abused child seems to be making unusually good progress, according to a serious case review into the murder of a 34-year-old woman by a 13-year-old boy she was fostering. But the review of the circumstances leading up to her murder concluded her death could not have been predicted […]
Posted: October 7, 2013, 2:02 pm

‘How the Care Bill must change to put social work at the heart of reformed care system’

As the Care Bill returns to Parliament, Bernard Walker explains how The College of Social Work intends to press for changes to the legislation that will ensure social workers play a leading role in its implementation.   The government’s decision to put individual well-being at the heart of the Care Bill  has the potential to […]
Posted: October 7, 2013, 10:28 am

15-minute care visits: an indignity that should be banned or a ‘fully justified’ commissioning practice?

Adults’ services directors have today issued a stout defence of at least some 15-minute home care visits ahead of a vote on banning them on the grounds of indignity. As charity Leonard Cheshire Disability stepped up its campaign for a ban and with peers set to discuss putting such a prohibition into law, the Association […]
Posted: October 7, 2013, 6:55 am

Crime victims with mental illness fearful of disclosing experiences to professionals

People with severe mental illness are up to 10 times more likely to be victims of certain types of crime but many are reluctant to disclose their experiences to mental health professionals, research has found. The three-year study by charities Mind and Victim Support also found that people with poor engagement with services were seven […]
Posted: October 7, 2013, 6:46 am

‘The depressing failure of some social workers to follow the Mental Capacity Act’ – a lawyer’s view

Specialist solicitor Ian Cranefield says too many care professionals are taking decisions about vulnerable adults without properly assessing capacity or consulting them – in breach of the Mental Capacity Act’s principles. In recent months I have found it both depressing and intensely frustrating that some of the fundamental principles of Mental Capacity Act 2005 have […]
Posted: October 4, 2013, 10:50 am

Social work diary: ‘He survived a nightmarish childhood we cannot imagine’

A challenging week prompts a social worker who works with refugees to reflect on life, loss and what makes the perfect team meeting Monday I get non-stop phone calls from various people involved with an isolated, elderly tenant. Not wanting to spend his money nor to accept any grants, he has minimum care twice a […]
Posted: October 4, 2013, 7:33 am

‘Being filmed for a BBC documentary helped me reflect on my own practice’

Family intervention worker Vicki McKeown describes how being filmed for BBC1′s Britain’s Broken Families influenced her practice – and her decision to study for a masters in social work Fresh out of university, I knew exactly the sort of job I wanted to do. But this was easier said than done in the current job market. […]
Posted: October 2, 2013, 9:52 pm

‘Social work is a noble and vital calling,’ says prime minister in speech to Tory party

David Cameron raised an unexpected cheer for social workers in his speech at the Conservative party conference today. However, typically, Cameron’s references to social work seemed to include only those working with children. Nestled in between references to adoption and the welfare system, the prime minister said: “Social work is a noble and vital calling. […]
Posted: October 2, 2013, 12:06 pm

Book review: ‘An inspirational must-read for everyone involved in adoption’

Adoption social worker Sandra Freeman reviews No Matter What – An Adoptive Family’s Story of Hope, Love and Healing by Sally Donovan Sally Donovan has written No Matter What to share the journey she and her husband Rob made, from when they first try to have a baby of their own, through their infertility and their […]
Posted: October 2, 2013, 7:24 am

‘It feels like adoption has been singled out as the head teacher’s favourite so all the cool kids must take against it’

Adoptive parent and author Sally Donovan asks how adoption has become such a politically divisive issue, with the ‘social worker-hating right’ now in agreement with the ‘Michael Gove-detesting’ left. “We need a system that aims to prepare pupils to solve hard problems in calculus or be a poet or engineer — a system freed from […]
Posted: September 30, 2013, 1:03 pm

Why crass ‘mental patient’ costumes offend me as a patient and professional

By selling ‘mental patient’ costumes peddling damaging myths about mental health, 21st century corporations displayed attitudes that belong in the dark ages, writes Amanda Headley-White As a mental health service user and a professional I am shocked that in 2013 so-called reputable firms, including Asda, Amazon and Tesco, could blatantly perpetuate the stigma around mental […]
Posted: September 26, 2013, 1:21 pm

Highest number of adoptions since 1992, reveal government figures

The number of children placed for adoption has risen by 15% over the last year, according to the latest government figures. The annual Looked After Children Statistical First Release shows that almost 4,000 children were adopted between April 2012 and March 2013, the highest number recorded any year since 1992. Edward Timpson, children and families […]
Posted: September 26, 2013, 10:43 am

CQC to investigate impact of mental health beds crisis on patients and staff

The Care Quality Commission is to investigate the impact of high mental health bed occupancy levels on the quality of patient care. The CQC board approved a ‘thematic probe’ into the issue at a board meeting last week. The project will be completed by April 2014. A paper presented to the board said that the […]
Posted: September 25, 2013, 12:35 pm

Directors criticise Ofsted’s new single inspection framework

Directors of children’s services have criticised Ofsted’s new single inspection framework for using graded judgements and called for the introduction of ‘narrative judgements’ instead. The framework, published today, is designed to be much tougher with ‘good’ becoming the new standard and councils that would previously have been judged ‘adequate’ now labelled as ‘requiring improvement’. From […]
Posted: September 25, 2013, 10:07 am

Book review: ‘A practical resource for promoting person-centred care’

A guide for creating person-centred organisations proves a useful and accessible resource, writes social worker Brid Joy  The growth of personalisation in health and social care means many organisations in the statutory and voluntary sectors are radically reforming their ways of working. Creating person-centred organisations by Stephen Stirk and Helen Sanderson (published by Jessica Kingsley Publishers) is a useful […]
Posted: September 25, 2013, 9:22 am

NICE guidance to prevent behavioural problems in children

Children’s services departments should ensure vulnerable children under the age of five have access to high quality childcare outside of the home to help reduce behavioural problems according to the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE). The briefing note for councils, based on existing NICE guidance, focuses on preventing behavioural and emotional problems in children. […]
Posted: September 25, 2013, 12:01 am

Councils split on integration of mental health social workers in NHS

Local authorities appear divided over whether to sign formal agreements to fully integrate their mental health social workers in NHS teams, data obtained under the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act reveals. Data returned by 108 of the 148 councils in England showed that 55 per cent currently integrate their social workers in NHS mental health […]
Posted: September 24, 2013, 3:29 pm

‘Calls to change child protection after Daniel Pelka’s death merely offer an illusion of security’

Social worker Abe Laurens reflects on the terrible death of four-year-old Daniel Pelka, and of his own 30-year wait for vital improvements to national child protection procedures and systems. You never become immune to the tragic stories behind child abuse inquiries, even though they reprise gut-wrenchingly familiar themes like a lack of professional communication and […]
Posted: September 24, 2013, 3:10 pm

‘Psychiatric bed supply and demand: 30 years ago vs. now’

  More on the mental health beds crisis: Emergency mental health admissions delayed up to 3 weeks due to beds crisis, social workers warn Concern as number of mental health patients placed in private hospitals rises by a third AMHPs ‘pressured to delay detentions’ as thousands of mental health beds lost ‘Severe pressure on AMHPs […]
Posted: September 24, 2013, 2:32 pm

‘Cases involving disability and substance misuse often prove tricky for social workers’

Researchers need to hear feedback from practitioners and people in receipt of services if we’re to improve the way cases involving physical disabilities and substance misuse are handled, writes social work academic Dr Sarah Galvani. I don’t know how I’d cope if I had a physical disability of some kind. I’d like to think I’d […]
Posted: September 24, 2013, 2:10 pm

CQC to investigate social care staffing and training

The Care Quality Commission is to investigate levels of adult social care staffing and training later this year. It will undertake a “thematic probe” into the issues after they were identified by a range of stakeholders as key concerns during feedback. A report to the latest CQC board meeting said there was evidence that some […]
Posted: September 24, 2013, 1:43 pm

Social worker’s Kickstarter bid to fund mental health game

Could fun be a new prescription for anxiety? Social work academic and registered social worker Martin Webber explains how a new crowdsourced project is testing it out. Anxiety affects us all. Sometimes, a little bit is a good thing. It can sharpen our minds before a performance or help us to complete a piece of […]
Posted: September 24, 2013, 9:09 am

Workers to go on strike over unsociable hours change

Workers in a secure children’s home and in two local authority care homes will go on strike this Saturday over changes to rates for working unsociable hours. South Gloucestershire council is planning to change contracts for staff who work on weekends and nights from October alongside the introduction of the living wage for all staff. […]
Posted: September 23, 2013, 3:44 pm

Social worker jailed for stealing over £31,000 from elderly clients

A social worker has been sent to jail for 15 months after stealing over £31,000 from elderly clients via council accounts set up for those unable to handle their own finances Lorraine Graves, 36, from Glebe Road in Hertford, pleaded guilty to seven counts of theft involving five victims between 2009 and 2011 in Cambridge […]
Posted: September 23, 2013, 1:51 pm

Social worker cautioned for failing to report the whereabouts of a violent teenager

The social worker, who was providing supported lodgings for care leavers for a local authority, did not tell anyone that a teenager who had previously threatened one of the young people in her care had returned to the UK. By Judy Cooper A social worker has been given a three-year caution after she allowed care […]
Posted: September 23, 2013, 9:54 am

We’re in trouble when social workers who love the job feel forced to quit

Why are people who love social work feeling they have no option but to leave frontline practice? This blog by former mental health social worker Ermintrude2 on why she left a job that was ‘in many ways, perfect’  gives an insight into the pressures faced by services and – perhaps more importantly – the despondency […]
Posted: September 23, 2013, 9:28 am

How can we achieve consistency across practice education?

A recent College of Social Work online debate highlighted a lack of consistency across practice educator assessments. Here, staff development officer and College representative Glynis Marsh looks at how we can achieve consistency across these assessments and ensure social work students’ needs are met. It appears the loss of the Practice Teaching Award affected our […]
Posted: September 23, 2013, 9:07 am

Haringey faces new challenge as politicians consider restructuring senior management

Rumours are circulating about the future of Haringey council’s director of children’s services, Libby Blake (pictured), as politicians contemplate a restructure of the council’s senior team. A spokesperson for the council said a consultation with staff would follow a vote by the corporate committee this week to restructure the senior team. There would be no […]
Posted: September 20, 2013, 5:09 pm

The social work assistant who helps families deal with a cancer diagnosis

Lara Perkins, a social work assistant for children and young people’s cancer charity CLIC Sargent, describes a challenging case during which she helped a terminally ill woman get married. When I took a call from a concerned nurse at The Royal Marsden Hospital in London about a newly-admitted patient back in May, there was nothing […]
Posted: September 20, 2013, 3:04 pm

Increase in adult social care jobs but more are part-time

The number of adult social care jobs has increased by about 4% between 2011 and 2012, an overall increase of 15% since 2009. The figures are in the annual Skills for Care report on the size and structure of the adult social care sector and workforce. However there are fewer workers (1.5m) than there are […]
Posted: September 20, 2013, 2:17 pm

Scie appoints former social worker as chief executive

A former social worker, Tony Hunter, has been appointed the new chief executive of the Social Care Institute for Excellence (Scie) Hunter is currently the chief executive of North East Lincolnshire council and senior vice-president of the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives (Solace). However, he started his career working as an adults’ and children’s […]
Posted: September 20, 2013, 1:15 pm

How a group of opinionated social workers is driving change in Bristol council

Bristol is one of a handful of local authorities nationally to have set up a social work board, bringing together practitioners, senior managers and academics from local universities. Here, social worker Megan Robb explains why she joined the board. I’m sure we’ve all had occasions in our working lives when we thought: “If only senior […]
Posted: September 20, 2013, 12:06 pm

Social workers lead fightback against personal budgets bureaucracy

Along with death and taxes, one of the few certainties in recent years was that Community Care’s annual survey of social care practitioners’ views on personalisation would highlight widespread disquiet about levels of bureaucracy. So it was with this year’s survey, whose most concerning result was that 77% of respondents thought their council had not […]
Posted: September 20, 2013, 9:00 am

Social work on the move: how mobile working can improve care management

In Southend, social workers are conducting assessments and uploading them onto the council’s care management system without having to enter the office. The result is significantly reduced bureaucracy. By Mark Hunter Despite today’s ultra-light, ultra-powerful, tablets, phablets, smartphones and netbooks, mobile technology is proving remarkably resistant to routine use on the front line of social […]
Posted: September 20, 2013, 6:31 am

Putting trust in social workers to curb personal budgets bureaucracy

In Essex, 70% of assessments are now signed off by the social worker carrying them out, freeing up managers’ time and leading to a much quicker service for clients. By Tristan Donovan A social work approach that thins out bureaucracy, empowers practitioners, frees up managers’ time and delivers higher-quality assessments appears too good to be […]
Posted: September 20, 2013, 6:30 am

Getting rid of teams and forms: one council’s route to simpler personal budgets

In Camden, specialist and locality teams have been ditched in favour of a single service designed to avoid clients being passed from pillar to post in search of social care support. Two of the chief sources of the bureaucracy that has undermined personal budgets are the volume of paperwork that social workers have to process […]
Posted: September 20, 2013, 6:30 am

Learning from the best to transform personal budgets

By borrowing from top-performing authorities, Norfolk has turned round its approach to personal budgets, significantly boosting take-up and reducing bureaucracy. By Mark Hunter Two years ago the system of self-directed support (SDS) at Norfolk council was in serious trouble. The system was slow, inefficient and bureaucratic. Staff and service users were becoming increasingly frustrated. Moreover, […]
Posted: September 20, 2013, 6:29 am

CQC set to scrap pledge to inspect every mental health service after admitting it’s “impossible” to meet

The Care Quality Commission is set to scrap its pledge to inspect every individual NHS mental health service after admitting the target is “virtually impossible” to deliver. A report to be presented to the CQC board tomorrow (September 18th) recommends that the regulator rolls back on a commitment it made at the start of the […]
Posted: September 17, 2013, 5:44 pm

Mental health trust told to ‘urgently’ address failings or face board sackings

A mental health trust has been told to urgently address failings or face the possibility of board members being removed. Health regulator Monitor has imposed extra conditions on Dorset Healthcare University NHS Foundation Trust retaining its license to provide NHS services after ruling that the trust had failed to respond sufficiently to “serious problems” in […]
Posted: September 17, 2013, 3:23 pm

First #socialcarecurry night a huge success

Last night more than 200 people who love social care and curry met for the first #socialcarecurry meet up. Here's some of the reasons people loved it so much.
Posted: September 6, 2013, 9:02 am

Inspiring excellence in social care

  Community Care has launched a new logo and strap line today – Inspiring excellence in social care. It reflects our commitment to supporting the professions of social work and social care to achieve the very highest standards of practice. With expert information, news, opinion, policy and jobs via our digital and live events, Community Care […]
Posted: May 20, 2013, 4:13 pm

Social work is more than just child protection

It’s taken two years, but finally we know who the chief social workers for England are. Former assistant director Isabelle Trowler, who advised Professor Eileen Munro on the redesign of children and families social work in England, has been chosen by the Department for Education to lead children’s reform in the profession. Lyn Romeo, an […]
Posted: May 17, 2013, 4:09 pm

Community Care wins website of the year

What a night! Community Care won website of the year at the Reed Business Information annual awards (the company that owns us) and I won outstanding editor of the year. We’re all so proud that after a year of huge change we beat some of the best sites out there – New Scientist, Estates Gazette, […]
Posted: December 18, 2012, 3:50 pm

Rochdale abuse case: Why we must focus on structural reform, not individual social workers

The review of multi-agency responses to sexual exploitation of young girls in Rochdale is a depressing read. The findings are stark: social workers repeatedly ignored victims of child sexual exploitation because they perceived teenage girls to be “making their own choices”. We learn about Suzie, one of the victims, who reported attacks to the police […]
Posted: September 27, 2012, 10:27 am

Privatising or pioneering social work practices?

My article, Life beyond the council: meet the social work pioneers, has provoked an interesting debate on Twitter about the pros and cons of social work “beyond the local authority democratic mandate”. In response, @ermintrude2 has written a detailed blog post, Privatising or Pioneering Social Work Practices, which is well worth a read. As the […]
Posted: August 22, 2012, 3:20 pm

Welcome to the new look Community Care

Over the past few months, the Community Care team has been working hard to improve our website so that it better meets the needs of social workers and social care professionals. Today I’m proud to say that our new home page is live. It contains much clearer links to the content and Community Care services […]
Posted: June 15, 2012, 3:42 pm

Katie Wright on why Alan Sugar wouldn’t make a good social worker

  Katie Wright, star of BBC One’s The Apprentice, was at Community Care Live yesterday. We couldn’t resist asking her whether she thought Alan Sugar would make a good social worker. “There are loads of ways someone can be a great social worker. Sometimes the stern and steady social worker does very well for some […]
Posted: May 17, 2012, 9:40 am

Social worker kidnapped in Kenya is released

Good news. Judith Tebbutt, the social worker kidnapped while on holiday in Kenya, has been released. She has been held in Somalia since September. Speaking to ITV News she said: “I’m very relieved to have been released. Seven months is a long time. The circumstances, with my husband passing away, made it harder. I’m looking […]
Posted: March 22, 2012, 8:36 am

BASW and College of Social Work to work together

The British Association of Social Work and the College of Social Work look set to start working together again. Speaking at the All Party Parliamentary Group on Social Work, Hilton Dawson, chief executive of BASW, said: “We have made huge progress with the college. There are no issues between us now. We must create a […]
Posted: March 20, 2012, 5:51 pm

One Response to Community Care blog archive

  1. Holly Butler December 18, 2013 at 4:11 pm #

    It seems to be a persistent theme that interprofessional communication and lack of person centered care is identified as a colossal issue. I feel, looking back on recent years, that the government’s attempt to prevent such cases has not only continued to damage the effective-ness of Social Workers but made cases like Peter Connelly, Daniel Pelka, Hamzah Khan, Victo-ria Climbié, Caleb Ness and Kennedy McFarlane all the more possible to happen. With new information systems being enforced in order to keep detailed notes of each case, Social Workers are now inundated with admin tasks resulting in less time to spend with each service user and fundamentally to the detriment of social work. In an ongoing study by Harry Ferguson, he discovered that there is an average of 15 minutes spent with each Service user, and worryingly in some cases it can be as little as 5 minutes. Now, if I – a social work student only in her first year – can identify the problems, why is it hard for governments and local councils to look further into the cases and find a long term solution instead of finding a quick fix and letting the situation pass by.