An open forum for social workers to ask questions about the future of their profession will be held by chief social worker for children, Isabelle Trowler, at the end of the month.
The meeting with Trowler and government adoption advisor Sir Martin Narey was called after a discussion with social work academic, Jadwiga Leigh, on Twitter.
Leigh, from the University of Sheffield, said she had engaged the former special advisor to Michael Gove on Twitter after raising concerns about the awarding of a government contract to KPMG and Morning Lane Associates, as well as the mooted criminalisation of children’s social workers for wilful neglect.
Opportunity for social workers
“It’s going to be an opportunity for social workers, students and academics who aren’t part of organised bodies like JUCSWEC (Joint University Social Work Education Committee) or BASW (British Association of Social Workers),” she said.
“There are a number of social workers working so hard they don’t have the time or energy to know how to tap into those sources, but they still have questions they want answering.”
‘In the dark’
She added she hoped the open forum would be an opportunity for everyone who feels “in the dark” or is not currently part of those conversations within established bodies to understand what’s happening in the sector and how it’s going to affect their profession.
Narey said his and Trowler’s intention was to hold an open forum for anyone in the profession to bring up “pretty much anything”.
“It’s an attempt to build bridges and reassure anxious practitioners that what we’re both interested in is trying to strengthen children’s social work.”
He said he wanted to keep the discussion completely open, although he anticipated the Frontline scheme, the chief social worker’s knowledge and skills document and the newly announced government child protection taskforce would be hot topics.
“We don’t want to shut it down and we’re anxious people feel they can ask about anything. We’ll be doing as much listening to people there as they’ll be listening to us,” he said.
The open forum will take place on the morning of 23 July at the Department for Education in London and is open to everyone. Confirm your attendance by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Questions can be posed ahead of time here.