So tell us what you think the role of social workers should be

Last week, the General Social Care Council launched its consultation on the roles and tasks of social work in England and called for responses from the sector. The GSCC and other social care bodies will use the responses to develop a statement describing social work in England, which it will submit to government ministers this summer.

This week we asked some prominent sector figures for their views on some of the questions posed by the GSCC.

In two weeks’ time, in the 5 April edition of Community Care, we will present front-line practitioners’ opinions, including those from our online win an iPod competition.

Feedback from sector leaders

Bob Holman – Voluntary neighbourhood worker in Glasgow

What does social work look like at its best?

“Social work should be about working in communities to empower individuals to co-operate with local and neighbourhood groups and to promote greater equality. These things were put forward 25 years ago in the Barclay report, Social Workers: Their Role and Tasks.”

Ray Jones – Former social services director

What are the roles and tasks which should be reserved for registered social workers?

“Social workers are a scarce resource and it is important that social work time and expertise is well-deployed within organisations and by social workers themselves. This needs to recognise the particular cluster of values, knowledge and skills held by social workers to promote people’s well-being, opportunities and aspirations as well as providing protection from threat and abuse.”

What roles and tasks should social workers not have to undertake?
“Social work, especially in multi-disciplinary settings, should not be the dumping ground for the unwanted tasks for others.”

Outside those situations involving statutory powers, what considerations determine the way social work tasks are defined?
“A particular attribute of social work is seeing people in their whole-life context, and being beside people helping them to develop their own problem-solving skills, recognising people’s competence and capacity as well as their difficulties, and helping people to achieve their aspirations. This is not about statutory powers it’s about personal, professional commitment and competence.”

Ian Johnston – Chief executive of BASW

What does social work look like at its best?
“Good social work is when the person receiving the service feels good about it and feels that the person who is working with them really cares about them. It is also important that the social worker believes in what they are doing.”

Andrea Rowe – Chief executive of Skills for Care

What does social work look like at its best?
“Social work at its best is practice with people to fit their individual situation and help them to move forward. I think we have moved away from that with too many social workers becoming overly involved in managerial tasks.”

Further information
Roles and tasks consultation

Contact the author
Amy Taylor

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