Stand up and be counted

This week Community Care is launching a new campaign – Stand Up For Social Care – which will speak out on behalf of the profession. We believe that as traditional social services Stand up for Social Care 125x125departments are disbanded and their functions subsumed by the health and education leviathans, there is a danger that social care’s unique voice could be lost.

It is important to challenge the tendency to view social work and social care as something of an afterthought as new policies are drawn up and services reshaped. We want to boost the sector in the eyes of politicians, fellow professionals and the public and ensure it gets the recognition it deserves by highlighting examples of good practice. We will also be campaigning in the run up to the comprehensive spending review next year for social care to receive its fair share of resources. It is a matter of growing concern that front-line social care staff are struggling to provide an adequate service in the face of swingeing spending cuts. At the same time managers are increasingly finding that their main role these days is rationing services rather than devising care packages for those who need them.

It is vital to make a stand now because if the profession does not develop its potential it will become devalued. And if that happens then the government could start inventing new roles to take on the social care remit – as has happened to some extent with community matrons.

We believe our Stand Up For Social Care campaign is timely in the light of the reorganisation of local government and also the publication of the health and social care white paper. The latter offers the chance for this sector to seize the initiative and play a leading role in implementing – and influencing – the government’s plans for more people power. After all, social care staff are a lot more comfortable with concepts like user empowerment and active engagement than their colleagues in health and education have ever been. 

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