Community Care’s very own Ruth Smith chairs the panel debate tonight with a full cast of esteemed social work leaders and workers:
- Alan Baird, Chief Social Work Adviser to the Scottish Government
- Kish Bhatti-Sinclair, Anti-Racist Social Work Education Group (ARSWEG)
- Annie Hudson, Chief Executive of the College of Social Work
- Liane McGovern, newly qualified social worker with an English local authority
- Hugh McLaughlin, Association of Professors of Social Work (APSW) (@apswuk)
- Lyn Romeo, Chief Social Worker for Adults in England
- Ruth Smith, Editor of Community Care
- Isabelle Trowler, Chief Social Worker for Children in England
19.45 The panel begins talking about how to enliven ‘dead’ social work culture and how to tackle auditing culture
Perhaps drop the ‘dead social workers’ language. Disengaged night be more respectful and truthful. Starting to sound pathologising #jswec
— Liz Beddoe (@BeddoeE) July 23, 2014
19.47 Alan Baird says academics need to be made by the HCPC to return to practice in order to stay in touch with reality and boost credibility
19.51 Annie Hudson says academics have become too distant and research needs to be disseminated into practice
19.55 We hear from the floor as a member of the audience takes to the mic to reject notion that academics are out of touch with reality. This prompts a round of applause
19.58 Ruth Smith reiterates that we need to stop thinking in binaries
20.01 Newly qualified social worker Liane McGovern says social workers are connected to the families they work with but the system doesn’t allow them to be as personal as they’d like
Potentially inspirational social workers are ground down by the system #jswec
— Liane McGovern (@lianemcgovern) July 23, 2014
20.05 Speaking from the floor, one member believes we should expand the way we select students for a richer pool of future social workers
20.07 Thatcher’s ‘helpful’ business model has created a situation where we are all divided from each other, a situation compounded by austerity thinks one social work academic
20.10 In Scotland there’s a real effort to listen to frontline social workers not just descend into managerialism. Annie Hudson responds by making the distinction between management and managerialism. Lots of lively debate and audience contribution going on.
20.17 Chief social worker Isabelle Trowler makes it clear she wants the last word, telling an audience member firmly that development plans are categorically not a substitute for economic deficit
20.20 Hugh McLaughlin frankly discusses his own mother’s struggle with dementia and makes clear the value of social workers
20.24 Harry Ferguson reiterates from his keynote speech this morning that he meant we need to focus on those inspirational social workers not as people who have ‘slipped through the net’ but as the majority- not focus on those who have been ground down by the system
— Harry Ferguson (@Harr_Ferguson) July 23, 2014
20.25 Annie Hudson says there’s been a good slew of documentaries that have drawn attention to what social workers do- programmes like BBC’s ‘I Want My Baby Back’ and ITV’s ‘Don’t Take My Child’ have been controversial with social workers however
20.30 Strong feelings over Alan Wood’s ‘crap students’ comment are reprised by an audience member who said that this kind of language would fall short of her expectations of a first year student, let alone someone who “claims to represent the profession”- how do we call them to account? she asks
20.35 The floor calls for greater collectivity- we need to work together. Isabelle Trowler responds: “do something”
20.38 Accept there will be tensions and difficulties says Lyn Romeo- there must be grit and debate and conflict
20.39 Now is the time for social work to be fighting back, thinks Hugh McLaughlin
Such a shame social work preoccupied with what others think of us rather than actually leading and growing ourselves as a profession. #jswec
— Ermintrude (@Ermintrude2) July 23, 2014
— ComCare Rachel (@ComCare_Work) July 23, 2014
20.45 “We need to be troubling students, not making them happy.” “We can’t be complacent- we’ve got a lot of work to do.” Passion from the floor about equality of service.
20.46 One audience member asks- are we creating the managers of tomorrow? Don’t think manager is a compliment here…
Another refers to FrontLine as the ‘elephant in the room’
There’s a lot of elephants in this room – This next one is resources. ‘Why can’t SW go down the route of waiting lists like the NHS.’ #jswec
— Luke Stevenson (@ComCareLuke) July 23, 2014
20.52 a debate full of impassioned sentiments, Hugh McLaughlin describes austerity as an excuse to do things to people that would never be done in any other situation
20.54 What does the panel think about modelling social work education on health education, asks one audience member. Is the current training adequate?
20.59 We’re nearly out of time. Isabelle Trowler says “it’s the endgame that matters and there are many many ways to get there”
21.01 and running over time… Kish Bhatti-Sinclair stresses that we have to align ourselves with Europe and the rest of the world on how long our social work degree is. We are ideologically flawed.
This is met with hearty applause.
21.02 Ruth Smith calls time so everyone can get to their Social Care Curry… it’s been a very lively debate tonight.
21.03 The hall is clearing and Community Care are off to get a good night’s sleep before the learning and discussion continues tomorrow. Follow our coverage #JSWEC