The author of a landmark review into child protection practice has said social workers are “too humble” and concerned about sharing their success.
Professor Eileen Munro, author of the 2011 government-commissioned review of child protection, told a room of consultant social workers (CSW) at Frontline’s annual CSW conference “it isn’t arrogance” for social workers to talk about success.
She said she was aware of examples where conferences on good practice had revealed that council cultures had stifled anyone talking about their success and social workers were worried about looking as if they were boasting.
“I don’t think the medical profession have any trouble boasting,” she added.
“I do think there’s a real problem that social workers have somehow become too humble. It isn’t arrogance. It’s honest to talk about your successes, and I think you have to be able to talk about them otherwise what do other people aim for? It’s a crucial part of developing as a confident profession.”
She said putting information about the details of practice and what breakthroughs have been achieved, out in the public space in everyday language was part of building up confidence in the profession.
Munro also used her speech to reiterate concerns she highlighted last year about the impact of hotdesking on social workers’ emotional wellbeing.
She said team support was crucial and helped social workers get “instant supervision” which in turn helped prevent burnout.
“Nobody should be an individual social worker. In the way it takes a village to raise a child, you need a team to deal with a family, and I think as a profession we should start to assert that more strongly,” Munro said.
“If you want people to be able to do that work with people who are going to feel very hurt, angry, frightened, anxious, you have got to handle all that kind of emotion, and therefore you need an organisation that helps you handle it. You need to be able to go back to a secure place,” Munro said.
“I don’t want hero social workers, I want ordinary people who go home happy and do the job well.”