Future of social work roles inquiry begins

Social workers want a profession based on relationships not systems or structures, a new report has found.

The General Social Care Council report Describing Social Work Roles and Tasks compared current perceptions with future views of the profession.

The report found that social workers see themselves as doing things differently, a key part of multi-displinary teams and as considering the whole person not just a part.

In the future practitioners would like the profession to be self-confident and respected, self-confident with more skills and freedom to practice.

They also saw their roles as working with service users and service user groups to shape future provision.

Key areas for debate about future roles were:

• Assessments or service delivery.
• Prevention or reaction.
• Based in the community or in centres.
• Advocacy and social change or therapy and individual change.
• Care commissioning or provision.

The report is part of the General Social Care Council project to define social workers’ roles, tasks and value.

The review follows on from Options for Excellence and the second stage launches with a series of stakeholder events and a literature review.

The events will involve front-line social workers and service users, and will culminate in a draft statement on the roles and tasks of social workers. GSCC’s chief executive Lynne Berry said that the project will help social workers develop the same confidence and public support about their roles that other public service professionals already enjoy.

Berry said the image of nurses and teachers had improved because they became better at defining the difference they made to people.

She added: “Other professionals want social workers to be a lot more confident in what they do.”

The roles and tasks of social work project has been commissioned by the Department of Health and the Department for Education and Skills and follows on from the Options for Excellence: Building a Social Care Workforce for the Future review.


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