Supporting social workers in 2021

Community Care and UNISON mark World Social Work Day 2021 with a new digital guide and podcast to support social workers’ wellbeing

Photo: Adobe Stock

Social workers have played an invaluable role in the UK’s response to Covid-19, supporting families and vulnerable groups who have been pushed into crisis by the pandemic.

They have carried out these vital duties with increasingly limited resources, and often without the right personal protective equipment. They have conducted complex home visits and assessments over Zoom and discussed difficult and distressing information in their own homes, without the supportive presence of their colleagues and supervisors.

Many practitioners have also seen their caseloads soar to unmanageable levels while they, like the rest of the country, try to juggle the pressures of life and work in lockdown.

Free interactive guide

This commitment to public service has taken its toll, with research revealing rising levels of stress and anxiety among social workers – public servants whose contribution throughout the pandemic has never been recognised by the government or mainstream media.

In recognition of the acute challenges facing the sector, and to thank all social workers for their incredible work, Community Care has joined forces with UNISON, the public service trade union, to produce a free expert-written resource, full of advice, tips and guidance.

Supporting Social Workers in 2021 is an interactive digital guide, specifically designed to provide social workers with tools to help support their mental health and wellbeing.

The 20-page guide, which can be read like an online magazine or downloaded as a PDF, features comprehensive extracts from five of Community Care Inform’s expert guides (normally available to subscribing organisations only). You will find guides to managing stress, working when you’re frightened, developing emotional resilience and navigating online practice, as well as tips, quizzes, exercises and podcasts.

Podcast: ‘we have taken social workers for granted’

To mark the launch of Supporting social workers in 2021, UNISON and Community Care recorded a short podcast to explain why the guide was commissioned.

You’ll hear UNISON’s national secretary, Jon Richards, tell Community Care Inform’s head of content, Camilla Pemberton, why the trade union is determined to build bridges with the sector after taking social workers “a little bit for granted”.

You can listen to the podcast, and read and download the guide, from any desktop, mobile device or tablet. If you access the guide from a desktop, you will be offered a quick tutorial at the beginning to help you find everything you may need.

A full transcript of the podcast will also be available very soon.

These free resources are part of Community Care Inform’s ongoing commitment to social workers during the pandemic. If you have a licence through your employer or institution, you might also find the links below particularly useful at this time.

Read more about World Social Work Day 2021.

More from Community Care Inform

Community Care Inform Children and Community Care Inform Adults provide online resources for subscribing social workers and social care professionals.

Self-care and Covid-19: podcast and transcript

Use of self and emotional intelligence: quick guide for practice educators

Managing fear in social work

Fear and social work: podcast and transcript

Loneliness and isolation during the pandemic: podcast and transcript

Not sure if you have a licence?

A large number of local authorities and universities work with us so do ask your manager, principal social worker or learning and development team if you have access, or contact our helpdesk by email or phone (0203 915 9444). You can also enquire about new subscriptions.

You can read extracts from other Community Care Inform resources here.

5 Responses to Supporting social workers in 2021

  1. George Mkandawire March 18, 2021 at 6:35 am #

    Sounds to be a very good guide looking forward to reading it

  2. Matilda A Biney March 18, 2021 at 10:35 am #

    I am very happy people are recognising the role of a Social worker, I’m a social work student in Ghana.

  3. Alec Fraher March 18, 2021 at 3:03 pm #

    When you’ve been around awhile the Year of This and the Year of That start to add up and one can bear witness to impact of rallies like ‘stand up for social work’ and the likes of the recent Unison support. Great I think about bloody time.

    I read with excitement the BASW announcement from December 2020 and was prompted to reflect on the words and action taken to actually support social workers and social work generally.

    In the December 2020 article Ruth Allen, CEO BASW, used an Ubuntu quote similar in spirit as saying ‘all for one and one for all’, I think from memory that the actual quote was lifted from Michael Battle in Spiritus 11.1(2011:pg136-38) and read ‘I in you and You in Me’ or something very similar. And I ponder is this actually true?

    It’s not my experience of BASW or Unison, and I remain committed to both, instead I find a profession that has been neglected by its champions – career trade-off’s and silence when action was so dearly needed. Needed to guard against the ill prepared architecture of software and IT answers to the ‘at your finger tips’
    demands for the latest dash board update on case management;or the need to guard against the loss of control of a Child’s Care Plan to contracts and procurement and crucially the dereliction of an Ethical Code as the very champions of the profession are also those who are commercially trading to undermine the very services they advocated for.

    Enron is a walk in the park, if truth be known and those in position of power know it. I do.

    Protecting children and others from harm require s, as a minimum a professional body strong enough to stand up to the nefarious forces that have subverted the very means of such protection.

    It’s high time both BASW and Unison stepped up and to be counted.

  4. Alec Fraher March 20, 2021 at 11:53 am #

    The Supreme (or was it the High) Court Ruling on No pay for sleeping nights begs the question who on earth is commissioning these services.

    In my knowledge if one knowingly :creates the conditions that cause harm’ then not only are the duty of care liabilities triggered but also the associative law of tort.

    What if, say, for agruments sake the parents, family and advocates and residents demanded, both sleeping and waking night staff cover; What if, state benefits owed to the individual were spent on what the individual resident, family and advocate said they wanted and needed and not simply handed over on trust?

    The duty of care can’t be delegated.

    LOCGOV and CCG Commissioners have got to step up.

    And, BASW and Unison want to hang on to their membershio it’s high time much more was said and done.

    Anyone, who’s been around awhile knew this was coming in 2004/5. But then, and at that time the gravy train lead to lucrative contracts. The more difficult questions aren’t being asked, like, are or have NGO’s and VolOrgs operating as cartels?

    And, who do they really serve.

    How come an Industry that has seen a fivefold increase, in Care Homes alone, of income from £8bn in 2008 to £45bn on 2014 can’t pay their better than a minimum wage?

    What are pay gender differences across industries? Are care workers, still, manual grade workers? Come on Unison this is your bread and butter so where’s the campaign? And, why the hell are social workers putting their signature to Care Plans that aren’t deliverable. In 2007, by a show of hands BASW members showed a vote of no confidence in computational care planning, come on BASW, you’ve already had a mandate to act. Issue, immediately, guidance to social workers on when NOT to sign a Care Plan or agree a placement.

  5. Sassie March 22, 2021 at 4:32 pm #

    I’m glad that social workers are FINALLY getting the recognition they deserve. I’ve actually been quite angry that it was the people working in care homes who were hogging the Covid spotlight. When there’s more to social care than just care home workers. Social workers move mountains to help us change our whole lives. Who else is ever going to really help us to do that? Social workers have gotten me emergency housing when I needed to get away from certain toxic conditions that were too toxic to stay around. I know my social worker deserves more than a certificate and a gold medal. I’d buy her a mansion if I had the money to do that, because I will never be able to thank her enough for finding me my own flat during a very abusive situation. I owe HER my life.