Councils urged to trust social workers with personalisation

Councils should entrust social workers to deliver the personalisation agenda rather than create new and “fragmented” roles in adult social care, Community Care LIVE heard yesterday.

British Association of Social Workers professional officer for England Ruth Cartwright pointed to the development of roles such as “care navigators” or “brokers” as part of the personalisation agenda.

‘You just need a social worker’

She said: “You don’t need lots of different people working in fragmented roles. You just need a social worker.” Her comments were met with applause from the audience.

Her statement followed a presentation by national director for social care transformation Jeff Jerome, who said progress on personalisation had been “generally good” but “uneven” after the first year of the government’s Putting People First programme.

Adass/LGA progress survey

Jerome, who has been appointed to help councils deliver personalisation, outlined results from a survey on progress by the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services and Local Government Association, published this week.

Cartwright advised directors in areas where there had been slow progress on personalisation not to panic, but to “just equip and support your social workers and they can do it for you”.

“Our skills and particular values and ways of working are at their most valuable [in delivering personalised care].”

Warnings on social worker jobs

Cartwright has previously raised concerns that some councils were cutting the number of adult social workers they employed as they implemented personalisation.

She has also warned that the Social Work Task Force, which has been set up by government to examine how the status and quality of the profession can be raised, was the “last chance to save adult social work” in some areas.

Responding to Cartwright’s concerns, John Bolton, the Department of Health’s director of strategic finance in social care, said the top three people responsible for social care in the department – Bolton, David Behan and Glen Mason – were former social workers.

However, he added: “I agree with Ruth that social workers need empowering in the system. Some changes in the last 20 years have unintentionally disempowered them.”

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