Two-tier threat to profession

Social work risks becoming a two-tier profession as experienced
staff go independent to escape poor working conditions at

That was the warning earlier this month from Helen Ogilvy,
co-chair of the British Association of Social Workers, who said
that to hold on to quality staff councils would need to create
conditions that mirrored independent practice.

She told a conference on recruitment and retention:
“Unless there’s a good reason to stay where they are,
more people will work independently.”

Ogilvy said independent practice offered more autonomy and
flexibility in work and less stress and greater job satisfaction
than employment in councils. Moreover, it was untouched by a blame

She also suggested government policy could lead to more demand
for independents with the adult green paper’s call for social
workers to become navigators rather than gatekeepers of

Independents are seen as ideal for this role because they would
not have the conflict of interest faced by care managers between
meeting users’ needs and keeping a lid on council

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