The Big Question

Kierra Box
Young people’s activist
Without service users, social services would be redundant.
But today we seem to think that it is the record of what is done,
rather than the action of making a difference in people’s lives,
which really matters. How can our priorities be so unclear? Focus
on service users, not bureaucracy and paperwork.

Karen Shook
Disability equality adviser
When I was a social worker in the 1990s, paperwork was
restricted to writing updates, care plans, and assessments. This
meant we had time to get to know service users and learn about
their needs, aspirations and dreams. Now it seems that paperwork
has to be completed to satisfy targets and the law.

Len Smith
Gypsy activist
No one wants to see the mishandled cases that we have had,
although rare. I would tend to the view that time spent with
“subjects” would be far more likely to avoid such occurrences than
sweating over a heavy load of paperwork. Surely it is possible to
devise a co-ordinated system of office staff backing up front-line

Shaun Webster
Change self-advocacy group
Everybody would benefit if social workers did less
paperwork. When social workers spend time with clients it pays off.
Otherwise users say social workers aren’t listening or not giving
support. Sometimes they come in late when there’s a crisis instead
of earlier when there’s just a need for support.

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