Do you think social work education should be split? Have your say in our survey

Take Community Care's survey and have your say on splitting the profession and what should happen after The College of Social Work closes

Debate among social workers and sector leaders is currently raging across Twitter, Facebook and in the comments section on Community Care on numerous issues such as what should happen following the closure of The College of Social Work and should the profession be split into children’s and adults social work.

But we know those involved in these debates represent less than a tenth of the profession as a whole. So what do you think should happen?

Our survey will take no more than five minutes to fill out and means your views can be part of the debate.

Stand up for social work and have your say – waiting until next month, or when you have more time may be too late! Take the survey now.

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2 Responses to Do you think social work education should be split? Have your say in our survey

  1. Gerry Marshall August 7, 2015 at 9:15 am #

    Working in Scotland allows you to see the benefits of an integrated service to an extent but one which is subject to lots of pushes to specialise and separate criminal justice community care and children services. Waste is plentiful and the assessment of risk seems often determined by the social worker’s role. It is not inevitable that for example an addiction worker is not as well tuned into identification risk to a child but the tendency is a real threat to any notion of a holistic approach to child or adult protection.
    Gerry Marshalll

  2. Peter Durrant August 8, 2015 at 10:58 am #

    There seems to me good evidence that community social work, very much a complementary approach to a radical form of community development, has faded from social work consciousness. As a long retired social worker – although much preferring the preface ‘community’ – it’s painful to see the College of SW in disarray, disillusionment with university-bound qualifications, (Freudian?) denial of explicitly describing what we all do, yet alone why, and an inability to work from the grass-roots upwards. Leading, as ever when I was practitioner in three local authorities, to a continuing search for that odd concept ‘professionalism.’ Ignoring what Bernard Shaw, accurately, argued in The Doctor’s Dilemma that it’s ‘a conspiracy against the laity.’ Why not stay with the definition of a trade reminding us that shared transactions and a more explicit statement of intent is a more honest way forward. Perhaps in essence the new ‘Front-line’ approach, learning in a more action-research practice based fashion from the start of one’s career, is one complementary way forward. But this approach still seems based upon a one-to-one model. Although, again, Community development/Social Work theory and practice, as outlined below, is little understood these days except in Scotland and parts of Europe.

    Let’s start with us oldies, ten million of us now living alone, but who have a great deal to offer. With what seems to me to be, crass, observations from the Third and other Sectors to ‘call on your neighbour and ask if they require a newspaper.’ There may not be too many viable alternatives around for us to re-invent ourselves but try on Google the more radical approach of theageofnoretirement for starters. Again, Children and Family depts, who seem to have mysteriously excluded themselves from evolving Social Care, have a brave new approach borrowed from New Zealand through family group conferences. Which for the first time, arguably, in social work provides significant clues on how to monitor, observe and work with, and not for, people on the receiving ends of services. And one hears that Essex is currently diversifying on these themes around recovering emotional health approach. But we’ll all look forward, no doubt, to hearing from Debbie on her return from ‘down under’ about progress on this front. With even the central govt. project on troubled families, where on earth did they get that regressive title, thinking more equitably about positive interventions.

    Or what about poverty and there does’t seem too many clues here. Section One money, and I remember paying for a television licence for a family down on their luck, seems largely absent although if we re-thought credit unions through rediscovering Community Banks and work with hundreds of Social Enterprises, try SolidatoryNYC we’d be quids in. Ireland didn’t manage to reach £19b plus GDP without providing individually-based Friendly Society-like support, moving nicely away from poor man’s (and women’s) banking images. Whilst co-working, or co-production, or whatever they call it these days could even employ people as Cambridgeshire Alliance and others do working with people with various sorts of learning and other disadvantages. Isn’t that all of us? And, in passing, take a look at Anglia Ruskin’s social work course innovatory Social Users and Carer Involvement (SUCI) where its contributors are paid an hourly rate.

    Have you, or any Authority, noticed that Bromley-by-Bow.healthcentre is still going strong after twenty-years in enabling and facilitating GP’s to work more helpfully, and successfully, with GP practices? Along with, one hopes, local authority social workers. Or what about reminding ourselves of the Barclay Report from thirty years ago still, straight-forwardly, showing us the more adventurous route towards community social work. (And don’t miss the Centre for Welfare’s invaluable bulletin on-line alternatives..) We could even borrow from the hundreds of Meet-Ups, usually free, helping all of us lonely people locally to enjoy Unhurried and other Conversations. Or even when re-thinking our emotional health, and I’m allowed at my age to challenge the nomenclature, by rethinking the notion of Maxwell’s Jones’ Therapeutic Communities and Triage Support Services for vulnerable people.

    Although pro-active networking, learning how to consciously transfer power to key and natural figures, avoiding top-down systems and committing ourselves to Asset Based Community Development (ABCD), which quickly identifies the huge amounts of knowledge, information and life experience out there in our neighbourhoods, represents only a few of the values and principles which Community Development theory and practice has given us over the years. Don’t believe me? Tune in then to the International Association of Community Social Workers – and I sometimes think myself and a community housing group in Gt Yarmouth are the only members in the south – although there are over 4,000 practitioners world-wide. Or try Rebecca, a scientist would you believe, teaching us all about local green resources as we slowly walk twice a week around Nightingale Park in Cambridge. Together with her self-learned community work skills, hopefully, leading us to understand how the potential for Men’s Sheds from Australia, could more integrated choices for many of us. Although we’d like to re-name them Community, People’s or whatever Sheds…..

    Lastly, Tony Phillips from and myself worked twenty-five years ago providing start-up support on more than six social and community enterprises, still thriving in and around Cambridge. These included Rowan Foundation, Snake Hall Farm, Opportunities without Limit, Darwin Nurseries, and others. Whilst there a dozens of of contemporary developments of this front in the city but, again, especially in terms of a community development/social work model there are, if any, evidence of inter-disciplinary developments. Which seems to many of us to be a neglected aspect of contemporary social work and I’ve been involved with the splendid SUCI group since its inception. But, strangely in my experience, only in Cambridge at least have we enjoyed examples of grass-roots upwards, peer networking, conscious devolution of power to people on the receiving ends of social work, the importance of key and nature leaders and the essentiality of peer relationships. Hands on ways of enabling social work students to understand ‘that there are alternatives.’

    Peter Durrant. Flat two, 10 Long Road. Cambridge. CB2 8BA on 01223 415597.