Use your skills to influence national social work guidance

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence is looking for social workers and those with lived experience to help influence national social work guidance

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Photo: Feng Yu/Adobe Stock

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is currently looking for experts to help develop a new guideline on social work for adults with complex needs. The proposed scope covers social work assessment and care planning, and casework approaches to support the person and their family and carers.

With an increasing need for social care, variation in provision and stretched resources, it is vital that social work interventions are informed by the best available evidence on effective ways of working. The Chief Social Worker for Adults’ annual report: 2018 to 2019 identified knowing what works and developing a better evidence base for social work practice as key priorities for the year ahead.

NICE is a What Works centre; producing evidence-based recommendations that represent value for money whilst aiming to reduce unwarranted variation across health and social care practice. The NICE guidelines are developed by committees made up of a diverse range of people, such as those who use health and social care services, carers and experts in health and social care.

Faye Wilson, a social worker on the NICE guideline committee for rehabilitation for people with complex mental health problems, strongly encourages social workers to take part in the development of NICE guidelines:

“I know we as social workers are good at seeing whole systems and how they fit (or don’t fit) together for users, carers and communities. I call it helicopter skills, otherwise known as strategic know-how. As an individual, I came across situations where I couldn’t change things at a local level, so decided to try to influence policy at a national level. Knowing both our knowledge as professionals, as well as the evidence, shapes the recommendations makes it worthwhile. It’s about stepping up not stepping out. We have such a contribution to make.”

Martin Sexton, from the Mental Capacity Act/Deprivation of Liberty team at Salford Council, and committee member of the NICE guideline on safeguarding adults in care homes, explains what is involved in being a NICE committee member:

“In November 2018 I was appointed to a committee to produce guidelines on safeguarding adults in care homes. I wanted to help identify and promote best practice, as well as develop professionally.

The committee meets every six weeks for one or two days, with some reading and email discussion in between. My employer has been very supportive, seeing my membership as a positive reflection on its standards of practice. I’m able to attend in work time.

Decisions are based on the best available evidence. The committee works closely with NICE to evaluate the evidence, and the recommendations we can base on it. I’ve found it challenging but also very interesting.

I’d recommend guideline committee membership to any social care professional. The more the voice of social care is heard on these committees, the more useful the guidelines will be for professionals and service users.”

Available vacancies

There are a range of professional vacancies available as well as positions for adults with complex needs, and their unpaid carers. NICE is looking to recruit seven social workers:

• Three registered social workers, who have experience of working with adults with complex needs
• a social worker who is an approved mental health professional (preferably who is also a best interest assessor)
• a principal social worker/ social work manager
• a director or assistant director of adult social services
• a social work educator or researcher with expertise in social work law, and possibly approved mental health professional training.

Committee members are invited to meet in London for one day, every six weeks, over a two year-period. Travel and subsistence expenses can be reimbursed.

How to apply

If you have a contribution to make, apply before 18 November, and use your skills to influence national social work guidance.

Social care practitioners can apply here.

People with lived experience can apply here.

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2 Responses to Use your skills to influence national social work guidance

  1. R J November 2, 2019 at 2:42 pm #

    Do you realise the commitment you are seeking from unpaid carers. I have extensive experience and relevant qualifications but advancing age and the issues for my daughter who has Down’s Syndrome take an awful lot of time. I know a lot of families [young and old] and they are all in the same boat – absolutely wrecked….

    General Care
    Supporting her to DO things
    and and and and and ad infinitum ….

    • National Institute for Health and Care Excellence November 11, 2019 at 11:46 am #

      Hi there,

      Thank-you for your feedback. As you’re aware, we are currently looking to recruit those with lived experience to develop this guidance. We do offer support to our committee members with lived experience to enable them to participate, such as attendance fees, expenses, and paid carers cover. We have more information about the support offered here:

      We do understand though that this involvement isn’t suitable for everyone, so there are other ways to get involved. For example, you will be able to comment during our public consultation, which will be open for around 6 weeks. There is more information on how you can get involved in the development of our guidance here: If you have any questions please get in touch with our Public Involvement Programme, who will be able to provide further support –

      Thank you.