The Big Question

Len Smith

Gypsy activist

It’s probably unfair to say social workers don’t listen to
service users, but whether they then implement what they are told
is another matter. The end user is an “expert” in his or her own
case, and knows better than anyone what they need. That’s not to
say the user should be in total control, but their input should be
valued and not dismissed out of hand.

Joan Scott

Inspired Services

I don’t think they listen enough. Social workers have got used
to dealing with emergencies only. If they were to listen and help a
bit earlier, when the problems start, it would be easier to sort
out and cheaper for them. So, when dealing with people with
learning difficulties, they should ask what practical support they
need early on before things go wrong.

Karen Shook

Disability equality adviser

Although many want to listen to service users and improve
services, choice and independence, it often depends on budgets and
how flexible workers can be when agreeing care plans. Receiving
services often depends on “life and limb” criteria and social
workers are forced to work within resources, regardless of what
users want.

Kierra Box

Young people’s activist

I would like a more listening approach. Social care is in danger
of becoming a punishment model which simply assumes responsibility
for those facing social, mental or physical problems. Under this
government less successful parents and families have been
criminalised with no attempt to intervene in or understand the
previous situation.   

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