Have Your Say

Report from ‘Have Your Say’ debates at Community Care
Live conference:


Question 1: A Community Care survey has
revealed that more than half of social workers working in children
and families services believe they are not adequately trained to do
the job properly.

What are the implications for children’s services of

“I have been working for a local authority for 18 months. I had
minimal training prior to this and I am still awaiting my induction
course!! I hold a case load of approximately 18 cases. This is
quite appalling and needs to be addressed.”

“I work with someone who was guaranteed a place on a DIPSW
course at university, which has now been oversubscribed by our
social services department by 50 per cent. So it is no wonder that
people are leaving the profession!” 

Question 2: Do social services departments have the
necessary skills to place abused children with adoptive

“Just to say how informative the seminar on child abuse here at
Islington was today.

There is clearly a huge gap between the awareness of people like
Mary Walsh of SACCS of the dangers of placing attachment disordered
abused youngsters in adoptive families, and that of most social
services departments.

We would like to contact others who would be interested in
trying to address why this awareness gap is so resistant to change,
especially as it leads to such severe trauma for both the children
and the potential adoptive families.

Please contact Adoption Problems at

Question 3: Should social services departments recruit
social workers from overseas?

“I think the debate held on whether recruiting social workers
from abroad was a useful debate to have. However, I feel that now
is the time that we must be lobbying the government and raising
awareness of the problems faced by people who choose to train as a
social worker in England.

I qualified as a social worker two years ago and live and work
in the South East (East London). I am unable to afford to buy even
a one-bedroom flat in a tower block on my current wage, and there
is little hope that this will change. Therefore I am forced to
spend over half of my wage on renting accommodation. Eleven years
ago whilst working in the City I was earning more than I earn now.
This situation has to be redressed.

If the social work profession’s profile was raised in England
and more money put into the retention of staff then recruitment
from overseas would not be necessary.

I am not against the recruitment of overseas staff, but I do not
think this is in anyway redressing the problem for this

Anna Fleming (Social Worker – London Borough of Waltham

“I have just listened to the seminar given by Essex County
Council on the recruitment project that they have recently
undertaken in conjunction with ASA locums to recruit from South
Africa. I was involved with the project from the start and actually
went to South Africa with Essex County Council as part of the
campaign. I can assure everyone that the every measure was
undertaken to recruit fairly and within the equal opportunities
framework. A mailshot was sent out to all registered South African
social workers inviting them to apply to Essex County Council. Each
applicant was required to complete a CV and a brief summary of why
they wanted to work in the UK and what experience they had. We had
452 responses within the deadline. I did the initial shortlisting
purely on the basis of who had fulfilled the application criteria.
These 250+ CVs were handed to Essex to further shortlist and to
invite people for interview. We interviewed 145 people over 2 weeks
in South Africa and 65 appointments were made. The process has been
long and involved and it will be June before all the social workers
have arrived. Essex County Council and ASA have worked in
partnership to make this as smooth as possible and to look at ways
of recruiting, but also retaining these members of staff. From the
perspective of Essex the campaign has made a positive difference to
their long-term recruitment problems. I am more than happy to
answer any questions anyone has or to address their concerns and I
am contactable on 0800 018 7691.”

Melanie Cash

Team Leader, Permanent Division

“Having attended this meeting I was horrified by the small
minded response by certain individuals from Haringey social
services. What was most shocking was that the comments made were
being made by “social workers”, so called caring and supportive

Quite clearly they had issues with regards to their own
employment, but to begrudge a social service for recruiting from
overseas, particularly South Africa I think was frankly quite sad.
People have a preconceived view of South Africa and by the response
from the individuals here today, it would suggest that they think
only white South Africans have been recruited. This was by no means
the case, and what was failed to be mentioned was not only were
there white and black people recruited, but also Asian

Essentially the argument is not where we recruit from, but to
ensure the British people have the proper social services available
to them. That children and family teams for example have staff. If
teams are under staffed then there is obvious strain on existing
members, which then has a knock on effect of the care services that
are able to be provided. If overseas recruitment can reduce this
strain in anyway then surely those in the profession should be glad
of the added support and commitment of overseas qualified
professionals that want to work in the UK, and are able to do so
regardless of colour, race or ethnic origin.”

Claire Gordon

Recruitment Consultant – Permanent Division

Angela Shaw Associates

Question 4: Some social workers believe Quality Protects
is a good policy, but the government has failed to provide enough
resources to make it work effectively?

Do you agree? Send us your views by clicking on the
e-mail link below.


‘Have Your Say’ is to become a regular feature on the
website linked to magazine news stories, feature articles or
opinion pieces.












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