Give buddies a go

Giving social workers a voice and providing them with an
informal support network through a mentor or “buddy” was one idea
proposed by delegates who attended Care in the Capital week last

The week of events, organised by Community Care, aimed to spread
good recruitment and retention practice across London.

Andrea Rowe, chief executive of Topss England and author of the
report ‘Should I Stay Or Should I Go?’, highlighted the role stress
played in making people leave social care. “Bureaucracy and red
tape are the biggest causes of stress. It is not the stress from
the work, it is the stress from the paperwork.”

She also said the sector needed to learn from successful work
practices in other businesses and industries, for example working
two weeks on, two weeks off.

Delegates also discussed changing the career paths of social
workers, who tend to progress up the profession’s ladder into
managerial posts.

Ian Johnston, the director of the British Association of Social
Workers, said: ” As social workers build up skills and expertise
they could become more of a mentor than a manager.”

Some key proposals from the week were:

* Mentoring and buddy schemes for social workers.
* Experienced social workers without managerial qualities to
support others rather than manage them.
* More use of flexitime, job shares and transfers between
disciplines, without bureaucracy.
* An attractive benefits package, including health checks, access
to sports facilities and subsidised nursery places.

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