Unison calls for urgency on social work ‘healthcheck’

Unison has challenged social work employers across England to complete a workload “health check” of their organisation within the next three months.

In a guide on the Social Work Task Force’s final report aimed at branch representatives, the union called the health check a “critical starting point” for any further reform to the profession.

The social work reform programme, which grew out of the taskforce recommendations, is developing national guidelines for the support and supervision of frontline practitioners.

In the meantime, it is calling on employers to conduct an immediate health check using an initial framework published in the final report, covering vacancies, case allocation and IT equipment.

Although the taskforce has not given a specific deadline for completing the health check, Unison suggested that its branch officials push employers to set a target date of May 2010.

This is in order to provide “a baseline for the social work reform programme to establish the fully fledged employer standard,” it says, adding that actions agreed as a result of the health check could be an early indicator of how employers will be able to implement the wider reform programme.

The guide also says branch officials should encourage social workers to report their employers to the union if they fail to implement the taskforce’s recommendations.

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