Meet social work’s top bloggers no.9: How not to do social work

The looked-after children's social worker behind the 'How not to do social work' blog on the joy of tweeting, why NQSWs should never stop learning and how local authority cuts targeted his stationery.

Where can we find you on the Twitter/blogosphere?

You can find me on Twitter as @SimplySW and I write the How not to do social work blog at

What three words would best describe your blog?

Reflective, honest, real.

What’s your role in social care?

I have recently changed jobs. I was an assistant team manager of a looked-after children’s team, but I have just joined a children in need team as a deputy team manager.

Why did you start blogging/tweeting?

I had heard a lot about Twitter as it was all that you would ever hear on the radio driving to work with the presenters saying ‘hashtag this’ and ‘hashtag that’. As a social worker I was naturally curious about what it was all about, and whether other social workers were using it or not.

I quickly found that not only were other social workers using it, but that it was also being used to share research and news quickly. I have found that this has helped my practice develop and grow, as my views are challenged and grown through the vast amount of material available from different perspectives.

My blogging started as a more personal way for me to record my own thoughts about social work or anything that interested me. When I started I did not ever imagine that anybody would be interested in my thoughts.

However, I did find it enjoyable being able to write and express myself about social work practice. I also found myself enjoying talking to other social workers who felt the same.

If you could recommend one of your blog posts to social workers what would it be?

Fish bowl working

Can you recommend a social care blog?

There are so many good examples of social care blogs but I don’t want to repeat what has already been written before. However, one of the joys of Twitter is that it brings social workers around the world closer together. You begin to understand that frustrations about services and resources are the same everywhere. So my recommendation would be the Social Jerk blog by a US-based social worker.
As a looked-after children’s social worker I have recently enjoyed the Puffin Diaries, reading about how family life can be. The reality is often not portrayed in the news.

Favourite non-social care blog?

What’s the strangest thing you’ve seen in your job?

Pens being hidden due to cutbacks and savings.

What one tip would you give to NQSWs or people thinking about becoming social workers?

Don’t stop learning (I know you could do with a break but don’t!). Social work practice should not be done in isolation so keep learning by talking to other social workers.

What’s your most hated jargon in your job?

All of it.

What’s your biggest social work hope for 2013?

That social work is continued to be recognised as a profession and able to stand up to challenges and misconceptions portrayed in some parts of the media.

What’s your biggest social work fear for 2013?

That due to the level of cuts being forced upon social care that social workers won’t be able to make the changes effectively whilst continuing their learning needed to support vulnerable families when they need it.

Best biscuit for a tea break?

There is only one biscuit for a tea break and that is a digestive, ready to be dunked in the tea.

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