Social workers in England are being asked to spell out the unique skills, knowledge and overall contribution they bring to children and families in a major consultation on the roles and tasks of the profession.
The Children’s Workforce Development Council has produced a 14-page statement describing children’s social workers as people who “can change lives” and “work with families to manage risk and help families keep children safe”.
Taskforce: key recommendations
The project was commissioned by the Social Work Task Force, which will use the description to draft suitable recommendations across “all aspects” of the reform programme, with a particular focus on training, workforce planning, and a possible standardised career framework. These will be contained in the taskforce’s final report which is due in October.
The document describes the diverse range of settings of children’s social work; the skills required by professionals such as listening and engaging with children, working with other agencies, and making assessments; and their unique role in protecting children.
Social work role “unclear”
The taskforce said in its interim report published last month that a lack of clarity about the distinct role of practitioners was having consequences for the poor image of the profession, the formation of policy, and how professionals are deployed.
The taskforce included a brief description of the profession in the report but asked Skills for Care, the adult social care workforce development body, and CWDC to produce more detailed statements in conjunction with the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services and the Association of Directors of Children’s Services.
GSCC backs project
The General Social Care Council welcomed the announcement which came 16 months after it produced a similar description of the profession, Social work at its best, in March 2008.
ADCS: document will aid recruitment
Marion Davies, vice-president of the ADCS, which helped produce the CWDC statement, said: “A clear description of the role and the impact of social workers on individual families, and society as a whole will help to attract people into the profession and ensure that training is appropriate preparation to the role.”
Consultation closes 21 September
Comments on the draft document, which includes anonymised case studies of nine professionals working in different areas of children’s social work, are being invited from social workers, managers, employers, and anyone “with an interest in work undertaken by social workers” before 21 September.