Councils urged to look beyond social work to widen pool of future DCSs

Leadership training body says authorities missing out on talent from other disciplines, with two-thirds of children's directors having social care background and councils seeing it as a necessity post Baby P

Team manager leading meeting
Photo: fizkes/Adobe Stock

Should children's directors come primarily from a social care background?

  • Yes (83%, 212 Votes)
  • Background isn't important so long as they have the necessary skills (15%, 38 Votes)
  • No, they are currently overrepresented (2%, 4 Votes)

Total Voters: 254

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Councils are being urged to look beyond social work for potential directors of children’s services (DCSs), after a survey found two-thirds had a background in social care.

In a report examining reasons for the high turnover of DCSs, leadership development body the Staff College said that authorities risked losing out on talented leaders from other service areas due to a belief that a social care background was a necessity for the role.

Of 116 current and recent directors surveyed for the study, 64% had a social care background, with 55% having been a specialist director specialising in social care and safeguarding prior immediately to becoming DCS.

Baby P effect

It said this trend had taken root following the Peter Connolly (Baby P) case – which came to prominence in 2008 – and other subsequent high-profile child deaths.

It quoted directors interviewed for the study as saying that “you are seen as a risk if you are not from a social care background” and that this “reduces the talent pool”.

This echoed findings from a 2021 Staff College report on the barriers to education leaders taking up the DCS role, in which participants said that “social care risks [had] come to dominate” the role, potentially deterring those from educational backgrounds from applying.

In its latest report, the college said there was “a need to consider the loss of talented colleagues from disciplines other than social work” and to “nurture the talent pool across the full workforce”.

Director role ‘does not need technical expertise’

While a background in any of the children’s professions provided a strong foundation for understanding some aspects of the role, the college’s latest report stressed: “The DCS role itself does not actually need technical expertise in service delivery; it is a strategic leadership role, and the DCS has a senior leadership team which supplies the necessary expertise in the different service areas.”

Key DCS skills

Directors, chief executives and lead members for children’s services interviewed for the research identified the following as key DCS attributes:

  • Being a good communicator;
  • Critical thinking and expert questioning skills;
  • The ability to demystify and boil down complex issues;
  • The capacity to network across the council and with partners;
  • Resilience, tenacity and stamina;
  • Emotional intelligence and empathy.

This was manifest in the gulf the report identified between the assistant director (AD) and director roles, with the abilities to network with leaders within and beyond the council, battle for resources corporately and lead the system, rather than a service, being key gaps for ADs.

The Staff College said this needed to be addressed through improved work-based leadership development programmes within councils that provided ADs with the opportunity to shadow, and be coached by, DCSs, as well experience of working across the council and in multi-agency contexts.

While its own leadership programme for aspiring directors, upon, was widely praised by contributors to the research, just 58% of DCS respondents had completed it or its equivalent. On the back of this, the college said it would “address possible issues of access”.

Lack of diversity

The study also reiterated longstanding concerns about the lack of diversity among DCSs. While 61% of respondents to the survey were female – reflecting a trend towards more women being appointed than men in recent years – just 6% were from an ethnic minority group.

The report said this reflected a loss of talent and councils needed to be addressed through targeted leadership development. It also urged action to tackle racism, misogyny and other forms of discrimination “so that people feel welcomed and valued in the workplace and that the pipeline of talent through to a DCS role is as wide as possible”.

The study was inspired by the relatively high level of DCS turnover – with the average tenure lasting three years – and its potential impact on the quality of children’s services.

Biggest frustrations of role

Respondents identified a series of “frustrations” in performing the role, with the top four being:

  • Council-based bureaucratic, political, financial and workload pressures (33% of respondents).
  • Disappointment with national government policy commitment to children’s services (25%).
  • Frustrations about the status of children’s services within the council and with health partners (22%).
  • The disproportionate impact of inspection and regulation (13%).

Directors told the college that the current Ofsted inspection regime was “destructive and poorly delivered”, generated a “fear factor” that influenced DCS recruitment and retention and consumed significant capacity within services.

On the back of this, the college called for the DfE to ensure inspection becomes more proportionate and for Ofsted to adopt a more constructive approach that reduced “the damaging fear factor and blame culture associated with inspection”.

DCSs also criticised central government for not understanding the funding pressures they faced, for the time they had to spend bidding for resources and for “silo working” across departments that led to disjointed policy for children and frustrations for directors.

The college said this meant the government needed to tackle the “negative effects of multiple government departments generating policies around children” and improve funding for new duties for councils.

Council culture ‘most important driver of satisfaction’

However, college chief executive Jane Parfrement said that, while the DCS role faced numerous external pressures, the most significant influence on recruitment and retention was internal, in terms of council culture.

She added: “The culture and the behaviour within many local authorities is a positive one where those leading children’s services feel valued, supported and constructively challenged however what this report also highlights is that for a number, possibly many, this is not the case

“The message from this report to chief executives and elected political leaders is clear – if you want to recruit, retain and enable a DCS to succeed they need your support and they need to feel they are working within a council where the culture is a healthy enabling and open one and where diversity of leadership is welcomed and celebrated. This is within your gift.”

In response to the report, the Association of Directors of Children’s Services (ADCS) said it contained “important messages”, including for central government departments on the “workload burdens” they generated for councils.

Pressures limit scope to improve leadership development

Workforce policy development committee chair Rachael Wardell said that, while councils “would like to make more time and space for shadowing, and similar opportunities, to support aspiring leaders to experience the DCS role, but the financial and workforce pressures we currently face make this challenging”.

She added: “Our own data shows excellent succession planning in practice, nearly all permanent DCS appointments in 2021-2022 were assistant director/second tier level stepping up into the role. Local authorities are working hard to recruit a workforce to reflect the communities we serve; this is important in direct work with children and at a senior level. We do not have enough directors from Black or minoritised backgrounds across the country, and there is more work to do on this.”

For local government leadership association Solace, managing director Graeme McDonald said the “excellent report” illuminated “a workforce crisis increasingly impacting on frontline delivery”

“More needs to be done to create attractive and supportive working environments in these most challenging of contexts,” he added. “Only with renewed focus and investment can councils create a workforce capable of rising to wave after wave of expectation.”

DCSs ‘generally satisfied with inspection’

An Ofsted spokesperson said that, while inspection and regulation should be “proportionate”, they needed to “reflect the importance of leadership across children’s services”.

The inspectorate said that surveys of DCSs following inspections or visits since June 2021 have found that 100% of the 63 respondents said they agreed the experience would improve services and 90% that the burden of inspection was about right.

“These inspections provide regular opportunities for constructive professional discussions with local leaders, so that we have a shared understanding of what is happening locally for children,” the spokesperson added.

Planned review of DCS role

The DfE is planning to review the DCS role this year as part of its response to the Independent Review of Children’s Social Care, for which it published a draft strategy earlier this month.

In response to the college’s report, the DfE pointed to the £4.5m it invested in leadership programmes each year, including the upon scheme, which trains 40 aspirant directors each year, and the Pathways social work leadership programme. Launched last year, this will train 1,000 social work managers and leaders a year at four different levels: practice supervisor, middle manager, heads of service and practice leaders (equivalent to assistant directors).

A DfE spokesperson added: “Our children’s social care implementation strategy sets out ambitious plans to reform the system to improve outcomes for children and families, and our continued support for social workers and their leaders will underpin the success of those reforms in the years to come.”

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26 Responses to Councils urged to look beyond social work to widen pool of future DCSs

  1. Alec Fraher February 22, 2023 at 4:59 pm #

    Is this just another market disruption in ILM training and accreditation.

    If so what was wrong with Hallmarks of Effective Leadership and Management?

    Leadership doesn’t provide immunity against structural inadequacies, unless its a rallying call for the Trade Union Leadership to act. And, now that they are it gets legislated against.

    Further, Councils favour certain management and leadership schools of thought, the police, Education and NHS another.

    Neverthetwain shall meet because they are in direct competition for, amongst other things, the mid term and pre-election shifts in the DEL expenditures.

    These differences are aggressively and competitively defended and fought for when money is scarce.

    It’s a very hostile way to go about things.:

    Social work has a value base purposefully at odds with Medicine, Education and the Police. That’s it’s purpose. Decades of attempts to lessen the many institutionalised professional fantasy’s each have of the other and nothing really works. Fostering an attitude and belief that constitutional dereliction and democratic deficiency is acceptabke; hardly an environment where constancy of purpose in leadership, and the duty of candour can flourish.

    Maybe there’s weeds on the ruins and maybe a thousand flowers may well bloom but let’s not confuse a demolition job with a restoration job.

    Post Brexit trade negotiations, currently focusing on the wavering NI Protocol, have forced an urgency to use public sector services as leverage in trade talks.

    It’s a massive IT spend. However creating the cultural similarity through the standardisation of IT interoperability means accepting a US path dependency. It’s not new. Microsoft run the Courts and huge swaths of LocGov and the NHS.

    But it is out of the EU frying pan and into a US furnace without the buffer of being able to blame the EC when things don’t go as first thought.

    NI has long been the place that Westminster uses to experiment with ill-thought out public and social policy. And, especially in health, education, housing and welfare. Without EU membership there’s no mitigation against being blamed directly for the continuing sectarian discrimination of NI catholics, although there’s an increasing EU leaning in NI amongst all groups. This is largely due to the relative ease of getting an EU visa over a UK one.

    It’s though given the antecedents a damn dangerous game to play.

    Here’s the choke point:

    Having competency and experience of a major incident or catastrophe is edging closer and closer to issues of national security.

    The nature and extent to which issues of national security are being played out through changed in leadership and management training, and the extent of health and social services being test sites, will be interesting ethical ground.

    Chatham House Rules Apply.

  2. Alec Fraher February 25, 2023 at 12:05 am #

    Councils, generally speaking, suffer from a lack of self awareness.

    Their evaluators, generally speaking, suffer from a lack of evaluatory methodology. The problem ~ indeterminacy and incommensurability ~ ars as old as you ever imagine.

    The presenting immediacy and urgency Social Work is being experiencing is, actually, everywhere. It is one of ideology.

    For cpd see Slojan Zizek ‘Less than Nothing: Hegel and the Shadow of Dialectical Materialism.

    For an attempt to transcend the issues Zizek called ‘over-identification’ see Bojan Radej, ‘Oranges and Applies’ a paper about incommensurability.

    Q: Is Social Work in the Shadow of Itself?

  3. Alec Fraher February 25, 2023 at 4:15 am #

    Social Work necessitates, often demanding, the violation of ontological boundaries.

    This means that it has the potential and if done badly is, psychologically and emotionally, at the very least, assaultative.

    The impact of which is across the life-span of each individual. This by it’s very nature and essence defies measurement.

    Working within guidance, principles and values drawn from knowledge of self/not-self (and others,) displaying beliefs, attitudes and behaviour, using discernment and skilled judgement in decisions-making can’t be measured.

    These are the Hallmarks of Effective Leadership and Management. Social Work is premised on Servant Leadership.The qualities needed are irreducible and cumulatively gained, they’re indeterminate and often incommensurable with the normative values of a given society. This can’t be measured.

    For CPD see Michael Polyani on indeterminacy and incommensurability.

  4. Paul February 28, 2023 at 1:22 pm #

    ‘Nuff said

    • Andi February 28, 2023 at 7:30 pm #


  5. Yoni Ejo February 28, 2023 at 1:58 pm #

    Clinicians don’t accept non clinicians leading them. Why are we so happy to give away our professional expertise? if you have never been a social worker I do not believe you truly understand the work.

    • David Crump February 28, 2023 at 3:38 pm #

      I totally agree Yoni 🙂

  6. Jenni Randall February 28, 2023 at 4:45 pm #

    I want managers to know and understand what I do. The best Directors I have worked for have been social workers first and managers second. Other professions do not have the expectation that they will be managed by someone from another professional discipline. We keep returning to this argument it’s time to stop. Do we really believe that oour profession has so little that is unique and special to it.

    • Alec Fraher March 3, 2023 at 1:47 am #

      A little known fact: a social worker managed by anyone other than a social worker isn’t social work.

      I dug this little beauty out a bit back when doing some commissioning work for a health partnership in Scotland; which isn’t necessarily how English authorities think.

      It’s based on what’s known as ‘complex equivalents’ in the National Occupational Standards manual for the NHS. These are called the Emergency, Urgent and Scheduled Care Protocol, (EUSC)

      English authorities have used things like NVQ’s or DANOS as the equivalent of a formerly trained SW. There not all bad recognising that the old CCS routes, like the CQSW were entry grade basics. When though used in a market environment and outside the Team or Departments arrangements they aren’t recognised at all. If the statute specifically require a SW intervention and decisions they most be made under the supervision of a senior social worker. If not the interventions are potentially unlawful. A provisional driving licence requires a fully licensed driver to be there. Same rules apply. Health colleagues have demonstrated that, say, nurse led services are viable in some areas. Gp’s with a specialist interest have done the same to break the ‘hospital and consultant led’ hold on resources. This has failed and especially so in those areas where mental illness/disorder brushes up with substance abuse and children’s protection.

      The repeated re-use and abuse of the EUSC protocol is so fucked it beggars belief. Entire, then, Government Policy was premised on the so called ‘trade-offs’ as if they’d never mattered in the first place. They are what’s called ‘extreme commensurability’ and suited only to high standardisation and stable equilibria in a service system. Like that ever existed, doh!

      For CPD see Weighing Lives and Ethics Out of Economics by John Broome and Alan Maynard and Karl Claxton in Health Economics.

      btw I have been booted-out, literally, from places for having the audacity to say these things. Walk and go lightly. Being or becoming persona non grata is pretty knackering.

    • Alec Fraher March 3, 2023 at 2:41 am #

      More CPD:

      There’s a potential for SW tobe in it’s own shadow, and horrifyingly so. Zizek is helpful although his work is an embedded proto protestant christian and german hermetic. It runs throughout his reliance on Lacanian psychotherapy. Julia Kristeva, writes in the ‘Powers of Horror’ a critique, although not directed at Zizek, and quite separately Laura Doyle in ‘Bodies of Resistance’ gives a fresh view on Husserl’s Phenomenology.

      Taken together, which remains to be done, one starts to see why the limitations of our theoretical dependence on what Babette Babich called Thought Errancy.

      This legacy is, to me, why Black and Asian SW’s get a rougher ride. The thinking-sets are inherently in denial of the western appropriation not only of the proletariat but also the plagiarisation of Buddhist and Hindu thought as secular mindfulness. [Other] Umbantu insights are also appropriated.

      Babette Babich addresses this, to a point, in the Hermeneutics of Hermeneutics.

      For CPD see Brian Fay, The Philosophy of the Social Sciences.

  7. Alec Fraher March 3, 2023 at 3:25 am #

    btw: Alll this has already been said by Salman Rushdie in his book, Imaginary Homelands, and his essays, The Empire Within and Brazil. Some public intellectuals are better than others, no?

  8. Alec Fraher March 3, 2023 at 5:43 pm #

    Is, And, Or ~ What?

    A four word summary of the Review?

  9. Alec Fraher March 3, 2023 at 6:25 pm #

    aperson (Zizek) Of [ add words to describe the qualities Of aperson you’d trust to be a DCS] faith(s), gratitude, charity, mercy, kindness, forgiveness … loaded, or what, right?

    What’s the Of-ness that’s said to be missing?

    How would you know it, see it, touch it ? Can it be specified let alone measured?

    Is Of grown ? Where is it cultivated and in what and under which conditions ?

    Maybe it’s simply about the ‘aboutness of Of-ness’ that unique quality or aperson without quality yet is needed ?

    You know like in each and Every Child [which] Matters ?

    Do we know what Really Matters ?

    For CPD see Art Kleiner’s, What Matters. Art is an American Thought Leader and Ed in Cheif for Business Strategy and formerly CEO of PwC. And, like Deming, Seddon, Ulrich, Jackson, Beer, Varela, Taket, White, Bateson, Sternman, Flood and and and these people contribute to organisational research findings that shape your working life in organisations, big and small.

    And, as Social Work education is integrated into and with Management Studies, like at York University are these writers and thinkers really one ought to have at least a cursory knowledge, Of.

    A useful starting point is an old text by Mackenzi, ‘Power, Violence, Decision written in 1975. It’s a long forgotten book but is useful if only to see where this journey and story started.

  10. Alec Fraher March 3, 2023 at 8:13 pm #

    I neglected to mention, the late, Humberto Maturana who with Varela, contributes massively to our understanding of psychotherapeutic practice with families and like Deleuzian thinking relies heavily on how ‘we are activated’ to doing. Like Stafford Beer his contribution was high-jacked by the Chilean State to control rather than liberate it’s people.

    Be careful people. Issues central to The Code of Ethics are primed to be tested and how.

  11. Alec Fraher March 3, 2023 at 8:32 pm #

    I would ask how, if at all, would a prospective DCS would, if at all, go about finishing ‘A Man Without Qualities’ by Robert Musil.

    Much of what we need to [add word] about the Of-ness of the infinitude of Being Without Qualities simply can’t be achieved without Trust.

    For CPD see The Problem of Trust by Adam Seligman

  12. Alec Fraher March 4, 2023 at 5:32 pm #

    I wondered if Ed Balls would actually contribute to this review.

    The odds are is that he has incognito. (see Zizek for his use of cognito/incoginto)

    I do, and genuinely so, hope Sharon Shoesmith has or is allowed to do so.

    As iwith the last but one Children’s Commissioner Maggie Attkinson.

    In, real time, and back then, I relied on Maggie and Sharon to keep me and an indeterminant number of sw’s and children safe.

    And, literally so ie life and limb stuff.

    Using the notion of an Of-ness ie Of-its time is covered by Enrst Bloch Volume One in The Principle of Hope. He, like a 100 years and more ago, talked of an anticipatory consciousness of yet to become. I find that (t)his (of)fering helps frame the, not so robust, probabilistic (and Bayesian) reduction more completely and within the life-long-learning promises we’re led to believe are real possibilities for each child.

    Instant Families, and the Big Brother and Big Sisters of America, while a heart warming story, somehow doesn’t cut the mustard.

    I have had my time. I appalled you to be Of your time.

    I just wrote to Andy Burham, the Mayor of Greater Manchester and formerly SofS for Education. I reminded him of the EU 2nd Chance School ( I was involved in the 1of11 EU wide projects, 1of in the UK in Gipton and Seacroft, East Leeds) and the then promises made by David Blunkett as SofS for Education and George Mudie, Minister for Youth. Collective memory and conscious matters, and if Every Child Matters then it’s incumbent (I love the word incumbent) to be Of our time too.

    Think Rosa Parks. The Review is transactional. It’s not good enough. If Josh MacAlister is genuinely (of)offering the Of-ness at this time then demand that Camilla Cavendish, the Boston will Group and CMA make a Rosa Parks quality (of)fering. Pfizer fund most if not all of the diabetes research nurses posts in the NHS ~ they want, as their prize, our patients level details, the gold dust of big pharmaceuticals.

    The Windsor Framework has in gaining primacy over The Good Friday Agreement, potentially secured the consent of the DUP and the restoration of Stormont. The Lend and Lease Act 2023 to sort out a mechanism to help Ukraine and previously of 1941 during WWII are of the magnitude needed to keep promises already made and being broken.

    This is the Of-ness needed. Imagine an (of)fer to guarantee each and every looked after child at the chance of US supported travel and education? That’s what the EU 2nd Chance Schools did for 14 Gipton teenagers, and we’re talking tough kids. They came home as young adults and more ready for their next step.

    This is, philosophically and psychoanalytically speaking, at the very heart of Zizek’s work. The issues of the primacy of a protestant christian ethic, and especially since the ascension of King Charles III, are way outside our pay-grade to trifle with, making it work equitably isn’t.

    Be Of your time. And, The Time Is Now (Moloko)

  13. Alec Fraher March 4, 2023 at 8:46 pm #

    For CPD see: ‘Obective Being and Ofness in Deccartes’ by Lionel Shapiro. It’s important, however difficult, to differentiate between the economic dereliction/derivative of Offering or Offerre (latin) and the many other versions of its etymology rather than the ontological origins found in Deccartes.

    For me, Ofness and Offer, are now, and perhaps, irretrievably confused as one and the same. Of(fer) is both a transitive and intransitive verb and through ‘complex equivalents’ becomes an area of ‘extreme commensurability’.

    This is structurally determined, as is happening in this Review, by presenting the Review as participatory and consultationary in appearance. The Thought Errancy manifests normatively by the acceptance of the narratives being used. Transivity, in economic terms necessarily equates the making of an Offer as Tendering and Contracting. This is what is meant by the Review being transactional.

    This is achieved with and by the subject matter experts, in this instance Social Work institutionally speaks and individually with sw’s.

    However, this is, if not recognised as intentional, at odds with the Ofness of the ontology inherent in the ethical standards of Social Work.

    It’s tough ground to cover, especially when the day job is already tough enough. Not least because societal values are increasingly shaped and governed by an acceptance of a transactional way of living which is increasingly digitised.

    This confuses Ofness with Offering (a service)

    Just saying ?

  14. Alec Fraher March 6, 2023 at 5:16 pm #


    I have just heard from Babette Babich and Bojan Radej regarding the use if an Of-ness, they rather unsurprisingly suggesting directly contacting Lionel Shapiro.

    I await his reply although his wider work suggests that it’s the intention and conditions within which they arise to create the Of-ness within an (Of)fer are crucial.

    If this is so the Contracting and Commissioner is really high end. The mechanisms for which are, to date, missing from detailed examination and scrutiny in the Review so far.

  15. Alec Fraher March 7, 2023 at 1:11 pm #

    I have just, well this morning actually, heard from Lionel Shapiro. I’ve yet to reach a discernment about his intended use of Of-ness and the context presented by this Review.

    Interestingly, he is suggesting that there’s a philosophical gap that Kant in his Critique of Reason addressed, AND which IS
    mentioned in Heidegger OR is covered by earlier moral theorists in their creation Of an Ethic of Caring.

    It seems too circular and smacks of a dramaturgy to me. I will let the notions rest for a bit and get back to it later today.

  16. Alec Fraher March 7, 2023 at 5:25 pm #

    A reply:

    An age ago I defined commissioning as ‘ The purposeful management of the many and often vested interests of an organisations interest in meeting population, vulnerable groups and individual, family and community needs’ I called it Provider Evidence of Competency, Value, and Aspirations or PECVA in short. This was set assessed against Purchasing Expected Norms or PEN in short. The overall scheme called Better, Brighter Futures was a mandatory requirement for any organisation seeking to provide essential and specialist services previously the required of a Council or NHS.

    It was utilitarian in nature but informed by, the then, competency framework of Social Work.

    In reaching a decision about the ontological nature of Social Work I have considered what has gone before. The above scheme an attempt to integrate largely institutionally driven agenda’s that were otherwise incompatible. At the time the approach was heralded as ‘Gold Standard’.

    So, why did it, eventually,fail? And, miserably so?

    What are/were the lessons?

    1. A Kantian approach to moral architecture, the Categorical Imperative was used along with Utilitarianism and a radical shift in confidence after years of Thatcherism. An appeal to an Ideal in a, then, cash rich environment matched the enthusiasm to invest in community owned enterprise and a withering of the State noless.

    Imagine having so much funding you can’t spend it !!! Managing and pressure testing of newly commissioned services was though tough going. The newness of which saw previously cooperation morph into aggressive and competitive rivalry. I called time on this in 2007. By 2010 I having whistle blown, to the European Commission as they held the, then, overall competency, became unemployable. I was fuming which didn’t help my case.

    2. So , I set about chewing over the errors, some of which are in comments above and elsewhere in this Review thread. I suggest that instead of a Kantian deontological approach a Heideggerian perspective on Being and being is, perhaps, suited. I suggest thus because Heideggerian thought is premised upon a notion of a ‘forgottenness’. A concealment and cover up. Professor Shapiro quickly saw that this, in using specificalities of Ofness in Social Work was, firstly, outside his more general intention and, secondly, he asked and quite of-viously so, where’s the Child gone.

    3. He pointed towards the genesis, certainly in the US, of the rise of studies in the Ethic of Caring. Championed, initially by Carol Gilligan, a psychologist, and Ned Noddings, a Philosopher. They in turn built their work on the work of Milton Mayeroff’s book ‘On Caring’ He did so because there isn’t a Philosophy of Social Work, although I know Babette Babich has written on the Philosophy of Nursing and Brian Fay on the Philosophy of Social Science.

    4. I accept, as one would, that the Review is called Children’s Services Review and, perhaps, would stretch too far his Idea of an Of-ness. Except, in the less abstracted world of doing the job the Ethic of Caring gives rise to Advocacy. And, even by proxy, being a social worker IS, in the Heideggerian sense, about actually Being a Social Worker. Being and being are loaded terms in Heidegger and it’d take too long to spell out their intended usage.

    5. The Ethics of Social Work are, by necessity, actually about Being a Social Worker. Not social-working per se beit utilitarian or something else.

    6. Here’s the rub. Pauline O’Reggio, in comments elsewhere in this Review thread, raised issues of etymological and historical significance. By significance I mean Big, as in massively so.

    7. Heidegger thought is of itself an appropriation of Buddhist and Hindu thought and culture. The origins of an Ethic of Caring have their genesis in African thought and culture.

    8. Our Black and Asian colleagues, for as long as I remember have asked their White counterparts to not simply listen but actually hear them. I am minded towards, Gil Scott Heron, and Whitey’s On the Moon. I am minded also that the very first poet to reach me was Benjamin Zephaniah who for no-fault of his own was barred from Adoption.

    9. This Review has the opportunity to set the record straight and, finally learn something. The IFW is now, has, Ofness. Let’s celebrate the wisdom of our Black and Asian colleagues. But it must be done, NOW.


    Voice of Care by Annette Bair, Virginia Held, Eva Fedar, Kitty Sara Ruddick, Joan Tronto and Elizabeth Spelman.

    Let’s, hear from, and genuinely listen, to Pauline O’Reggio. And, in my experience of knowing her, Let’s hear from Kath Drescher, who as a White Middle Class woman, would have the competency and more, to spearhead a rallying call for Being a Social Worker.

    This is me done. I’m not suited to and don’t have the skill set for such tough terrain. It doesn’t mean I can’t see the need for seismic shifts though and like The Lorax keep bashing on.

    Thanks to CC for publishing and thanks to those of you who have read my comments too.

  17. Alec Fraher March 7, 2023 at 5:55 pm #

    Oops forgot, in the ordinary use of forgottenness, you know oops, this

    Courtesy of Prof Lionel Shapiro.

  18. Alec Fraher March 8, 2023 at 11:13 am #

    • Alec Fraher March 8, 2023 at 1:18 pm #

      I was asked, 20 years ago now, to write the Remand Management Strategy for a cluster of YOTs covering 3 MDC areas.

      It included, primarily, setting up Remand and Bail Fostering Services and a Kinship Care Network.

      The latter aspect, Kinship Care, was tagged (pun intended) to be part of the, then, Community Referral Scheme for first time offenders.

      The Remand and Bail Fostering were integrated into the, then, ISSP Services as diversion from custody.

      It took 3 months to write a technically crafted board level report on the, HOW, not Why. And 4hrs 26mins to secure the legal and democratic sign-offs. Which included payments for Remand and Bail Fostering.

      Within 9mths all the services were up and running and successfully so.

      The trigger for this was unanticipated and, at the time, highly contentious.

      The local newspapers, immediately after New Year, were light on news, as is always the case.

      They ran a front page ‘advert’ as a story, titled:

      SHARE Your Home With A Criminal?

      The phone was off-the-hook with prospective Foster Carers. And I mean in their hundreds.

      Here’s the afterthought in light of Benjamin Zephaniah being rejected (hear his account on BBC R4)

      Share your home with a Criminal ?
      Data Barring Scheme, it’s algorithmical,
      In reality such answers ain’t clear, they’re liminal
      It’s a shame really,
      Even Pitiful,
      You’ve already taken what’s mine, calling it~ Philosophical,
      It’s ontology,
      It’s epistemological,
      It’s empirical,
      Yet, I am told,
      For Yous,
      Taking without Consent is unethical,
      It’s not quite criminal,
      It’s probabilistical,
      Let me tell you,
      It’s political,
      Share Your Home With A Criminal !

      • Alec Fraher March 10, 2023 at 11:15 pm #

        I couldn’t help but share this:

        If Advocacy raises from the Ethic of Caring, Of entering into a relationship with another and acting on the basis of our concern for them as a fellow human being (Abrahams 1976) How, does the Advocacy handle the Solicitation or Solicitude ~ is helping helpful? And, what happens when the conception of such Advocacy actually destroys that which it sought to protect. On who’s terms IS an Independent Reviewing Of-ficer, actually acting?

        I remember chairing a s16 review and the feeling of rage, and disgust actually, at the very people advocating being completely at odds with anything the child wanted.

        The abuse of the s16 review mechanism by predatory providers in competition with each other only perpetuates the very solicitation the child has been secured against.

        Market mechanisms in Children’s Care show up this way. I sincerely hope that the Review lifts it’s head above the transactional and gets properly into the issues.

        For cpd see Babette Babich on Solicitude in Heidegger.

        btw I was of 1of2 to be the first into the High Security Psychiatric Estate following public inquiries into patient abuse. Understanding Advocacy necessarily requires an understanding of why Nurse Advocacy and Social Work Advocacy is institutionally getting harder ~ The Great Moving Right Show by Stuart Hall is a useful place to start.

        • Alec Fraher March 12, 2023 at 3:29 pm #

          For CPD on Advocacy see The Unison Guide to Advocacy for Mental Health Workers.

          While drafted during the hospital closure programme in the 1990s it’s origins are noteworthy.

          Originally, I Commissioned the work but it was crafted with Annie Frobisher, Ward Manager at the, then, Stanley Royd Hospital, Wakefield and the, then, 5 Towns Survivor’s Forum., based on the supervisory framework known as Six Category Interventions by John Heron.

          On publication the work was credited to Dr Viv Lindow and Unison to ensure it’s widest circulation and literary standing.

          Advocacy within Children’s Services, as with say the, then, Barbado’s Childrens Advocacy Services also in Wakefield in the noughties had a similar genesis.

          The procurement and contracting of childrens information rights and representation services tends towards regionalism and can waste 12-18mths of, usually, 3 year contracts just bedding in. Build locally is my advice unless there’s a distinct need for a socio-legal approach that’s needed. Socio-legalism is only one option and great care is needed to ensure operational readiness with this type quasi Legal Formalism. There’s such a scheme in Liverpool, or there was.

  19. Alec Fraher March 22, 2023 at 7:52 pm #

    For CPD see the IFSW release of Lessons from Ubuntu ~ my reading suggests that this learning is actually the genesis of Advocacy as central to an Ethic of Caring in SW.

    Google IFSW-Ubuntu-Practitioner for free download 4.43MB needed.