Social Skirmishes

● Social services staff are often asked how service users can best be empowered. Well, the opportunity recently arose with the children’s commissioner’s 11 Million day, where children from all over the country were supposedly meant to shadow public sector employees in their jobs. A wonderful chance to show children my job.

Except of course my local authority didn’t quite see it like that. The last thing it wanted was a group of children turning up in the office interfering with the daily routine of managerial meetings and distracting staff from important things such as office gossip and paperwork.

So we compromised. A question and answer session was held in the town hall. On the panel were a councillor, a couple of managers and me – having drawn the short straw in the office. The questions went well – and the answers? Let’s just say I was glad to make a quick exist.

● Just to prove it isn’t just children’s social workers who can be insensitive to clients’ needs, here is a recent story sent in from someone in a disability team.

An experienced practitioner was found shouting down the phone: “Can you hear me, is there anyone there, why don’t you speak up!” to a client.

She went red-faced when she was told the client was deaf.

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