Torbay Care Trust backs social work model for personalisation era

Torbay Care Trust is to implement an “excellence model of social work” to boost morale, limit paperwork, free practitioners to carry out more complex work and raise the profession’s profile.

The model, ratified by the trust board last month, is a response to the government’s personalisation agenda for adult social care to give users choice and control over the care they receive through personal budgets and self-assessments.

It has been drawn up by Aaron Standon, the trust’s head of social work, and its 11 social work leads.

Principles of model

The four principles of the model are:

● People’s life chances are influenced by their social circumstances.

● Social work is about empowerment and change. People can take control of their situation and transcend the difficulties they face.

● The most important social work tool is the relationship practitioners develop with the people they work with.

● Social workers deal with legislation to empower and protect vulnerable people.

Standon said the model had received strong support from other social workers and leaders of other professions represented in the care trust.

He said it was strongly influenced by the social model of disability – which argues disability arises from social, environmental and attitudinal barriers to inclusion – and the General Social Care Council-led report on the roles and tasks of social work in England.

However, Standon, a former approved social worker, added: “I thought the roles and tasks document was a good document but it didn’t excite me. I was hoping to get that enthusiasm into this document.”

Claiming territory

Working in an integrated health and social care organisation where there are more nurses than social workers, Standon, who took up post last July, said it was important the profession “claimed a territory” and demonstrated its purpose to other professions.

He said he expected social workers to be doing fewer assessments and reviews, as a result of greater self-assessment and more rewiews being carried out by providers, enabling practitioners to concentrate on more complex work, including safeguarding.

The model is now being written into job descriptions and will be rolled out through training and workshops.

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