Profile – Fran Duncan

    Name: Fran Duncan.
    Job: Social work consultant, Northumberland Care
    Trust.
    How long in the job: 18 months.
    Career highlight: Delivering a paper recently on
    the challenges of promoting social work in an integrated setting at
    an international conference in Australia.
    Career lowlight: I was happy to leave social work
    to have a family in the 70s. It was the age of being a generic
    social worker. I was a senior social worker responsible for a
    generic team and was clueless about mental health and child care.
    It is scary being responsible for services that you don’t have a
    good knowledge base for.
    Best training ever done: A counselling course. I
    use those skills to relate to people. They are transferable and it
    underpins so much of what you do in social services.
    Over the course of my career, I wish I hadn’t:
    Taken so long to join the British Association of Social Workers and
    work at a more national level.
    The most painful lesson I’ve learned at work is:
    You cannot do it all. Let go of the things that are not in your
    remit to influence.
    Me and my career: I’ve been defining this role as
    I’ve gone along because it was a new post. It is about promoting
    social workers and social care in the context of the integration of
    primary care and adult care services at the trust and looking at
    professional leadership. Leadership is something we need to do as a
    profession and I promote it to senior management, making them aware
    of social worker issues. There had been concern from social workers
    about their role being marginalised, so I spent the first six
    months meeting all the social workers here. I had been working in a
    health-dominated setting before so was used to flying the flag for
    social work in that situation. I can be talking to the chief
    executive one day and mentoring newly qualified social workers the
    next.

    Curriculum Vitae
    2003-current:
    Social work consultant, Northumberland Care
    Trust.
    1989-2003: Manager, social work, then principal
    social worker, Marie Curie Centre, Newcastle upon Tyne.
    1988-9: Part-time social worker, Gateshead.
    1975-88: Motherhood.
    1972-5: Senior social worker, Newcastle
    Council.
    1971-2: Social worker, St James Hospital,
    London.
    1969-70: Unqualified social worker, Hospital for
    Women, Middlesex.

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