Career Clinic

Q: I have recently changed from working with children to working in adult social work and have received a pleasing job offer. However, there is a huge amount to learn and this has greatly knocked my confidence. Any advice?

A: Adult social care is complex but crucial to the well-being of both disabled adults and older people. The complexity comes from the diverse funding and commissioning practices in the sector, and meeting the wide-ranging needs of individual service users.

I assume you are a qualified registered social worker. If so, you will be familiar with the Code of Practice and the Post Registration Teaching and Learning requirements of all social workers, whether in adults’ or children’s services.

The Skills for Care Common Induction Standards (including the new learning disability set) and Common Core Principles for self-care are appropriate background materials for your new job induction. You will also have access to the post-qualifying framework, where the options include one focused on social work with adults. Others options include leadership and management, practice education, and social work within mental health services. Go to for more information.

There is also a range of knowledge sets available, covering issues including learning disabilities, dementia, and protection of vulnerable adults. And you should familiarise yourself with key policy documents such as Our Health, Our Care, Our Say, Valuing People, and Independence, Well-being and Choice – the Department of Health website is the best starting point for these ( You can also access evidence of good practice in the field from the Social Care Institute for Excellence at

Increasingly, the person using the adult social care service is taking control of his or her own care through personal budgets and direct payments. This means the service is being impacted on by housing, education, and community and local government policy drivers. A one-stop public sector commissioning structure is being developed which will bring together this range of public services.

Andrea Rowe is chief executive of Skills for Care. She is answering your questions in a personal capacity

Readers’ views:
A key thing about working in adults’ services is the need to be able to work effectively with professionals from other agencies. Investing time in developing good relationships with colleagues in health and housing is well worth the effort.

Name and address withheld

28 February question

Q: Our senior managers appear to have no understanding of what it is like to be a frontline practitioner. I want to let them know what it’s like, but what can I do? We will answer this question in the 28 February issue of Community Care. We want to publish your advice too: please send it to by Monday 18 February.

Do you have your own career dilemma? Send your comments or questions for consideration by our expert panel and your peers to



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