Finding out about what people think about social workers
We wanted to understand what people think about the conduct, competence and regulation of social workers in England. We commissioned UEA consulting Ltd to help us find out. We discovered that:
- Social work may be something that the public has strong, often negative attitudes about without actually having a clear understanding of what social work is and what social workers do. This has not been helped by distorted media coverage.
- Few people have any awareness of the current regulatory bodies, regulation procedures or standards of conduct.
- Clear, accessible information on the codes must be published for people to be clear what the standards are and aware when they are not receiving their entitlements and for the potential for redress.
- Any code of conduct or set of standards should clearly ‘put the person first’; they should promote person-centred support that enables people to be fully involved in decision making and assist them to fulfill their own agendas.
In addition, we wanted to find out what existing literature tells us about the diversity of roles social workers in England perform and the main issues of relevance to regulating the profession. We commissioned staff at the Social Care Workforce Research Unit at King’s College London to find and review the relevant literature. The review showed that:
- Definitions of social work have always been contested and that the activities that social workers do are strongly influenced by the expectations about their role that predominate in the countries and agencies in which they practise.
- Some commentators suggested that social work is especially characterised by combining support for individuals and work at a collective level to achieve social transformation.
- The extent to which social workers can exercise professional discretion and the amount of administration they need to undertake has been identified as contributing to poor retention rates and/or burnout.
- It has been suggested that there has been more emphasis in reports and inquiries into identifying procedural errors or omissions than in clarifying poor practice and when ‘fitness to practise’ procedures should be invoked.
We will be using the results of these two pieces of research to inform how we:
- Engage with social workers and people who use their services
- Facilitate debate and research on professional regulation and registrationPromote the interests of people who use social work services through our oversight of the Health and Care Professions Council which regulates social workers in England.
Shape of Caring Review Twitter chats
Health Education England (HEE) and the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) are staging a series of Twitterchats in September as part of the Shape of Caring Review engagement process.
The first event took place on 10 September (6.30-7.30pm) when Lisa Bayliss-Pratt, HEE’s Nursing Director (@hee_lisaBP) joined Karina Kolyva (@KaterinaKolyva) Director of Continued Practice at the NMC to discuss Theme 4: Developing a flexible training model. Read the conversation using the hashtag #shapeofcaring.
Here is a list of the upcoming Twitter chats:
Thursday 24 September 2015 (8-9pm)
Exploring Theme 7: Research and innovation (Twitter chat run in partnership with @wenurses). More information and how to take part is available from the WeNurses team. Also joining this chat will be Nicki Latham (@hee_nicki) Executive Director of Performance and Development at HEE.
Wednesday 30 September 2015 (6.30-7.30pm)
Exploring Themes 1 and 2: ‘Enhancing co-production and the voice of the patient’ and ‘Valuing care assistants’
These chats will give people an opportunity to put forward questions, make observations and signpost relevant articles and commentary.