Health minister John Hutton has pledged government support for
the joint campaign by Community Care and the Local Government
Association aimed at raising awareness about the effective work
done by social care staff.
Speaking at the campaign launch last week the minister gave his
backing to the new drive – entitled “You can make a difference”. He
also announced that the Department of Health would follow the
campaign later this year with an initiative to raise the profile of
social care and social work and boost recruitment. This would be
built around a series of local initiatives targeted at those areas
with most serious problems.
The Community Care/LGA initiative kicked off with an
NOP survey revealing how unpopular social work now is as a career
choice. The poll of 1,000 people found that 72 per cent would not
even consider social work as a career although 24 per cent said
they might consider it.
A series of eight posters, leaflets and a new website: www.community-care.co.uk/careers
will all feature in the new campaign designed to remind people that
social workers are undervalued and deserve more recognition.
Each local authority has been asked to nominate a “champion”
among its staff to ensure the initiative is well promoted. A
helpline has been set up by training organisation CCETSW to handle
enquiries from people interested in a career in social work.
It is hoped the campaign will attract more recruits to the
profession, particularly in areas where there are high vacancy
Hutton said two-thirds of social services departments
experienced problems filling vacant social work posts.
The public perception of the profession was not helped, he said,
by words used to describe social workers in the media such as
“incompetent”, “negligent” and “bullying”.
“There is a great deal to do, but I think this is a very
positive beginning,” he said. “It will take an ongoing commitment
over the next few years to turn things around.”
Community Care editor in chief Terry Philpot said the
campaign was the first of its kind, and was “a first step”. He
hoped it would lead to the recruitment of more social workers.
More details at www.community-care.co.uk/careers