Monthly Archives: January, 2013


Today I was kindly reminded why social work is not a straight forward job, that it requires going above and beyond – maybe even more than creative with the acknowledged lack of a budget.  That poor grammar mixed with the wrong use of a word brings shame upon social work (good job I get my work checked before it is sent to court then).  But sadly I think the message I was given was lost upon the method of delivery, its punch line seeping in self importance and with the owner of the comment more concerned with their own power and attempt to be little me.  It is these behaviours that bring power and meaning to those arguments to the people that do not support social work or social care.

It is easy to forget that everyone has their own life story, or their own challenges to overcome to qualify in social work.  That the experience needed is not gained with the certificate on graduation; instead it does however give you an opportunity to practise working with vulnerable people.

So therefore when sitting in someones living room discussing challenging safeguarding concerns with someone who may or may not agree with the concerns and you are discussing with them how you are going to support them or safeguard the child’s needs.  Stop, think and consider your approach use your knowledge and your learning, challenge and be direct, make your point and get it across but do not do it at the expense of the parents or of social work.

If you are a social work student reading this, do not get the wrong impression social work is a profession that can adapt and does adapt quickly.  Social Workers do work hard and longer than they should, Social Workers do make an effort and there is no time for luxury.  So yes I do agree that in social work, that social workers should have the right tools to complete their tasks, I do think that the right working environment is needed and essential, and I do believe that confidentially for the people we work with is essential.

So thank you for reminding me why the focus must remain on the vulnerable children we work with and why research being completed by University’s and other social work academics is so important to informing our practise.

Settling in

Wow, what a week – it does make me chuckle as a social worker when making a change in my own life that I get anxious and nervous about it.  When every day I speak with people and support them through making their own changes.

Looking back though day 1 was the hardest I was truly the new boy on the block.  I did enjoy the tricks and the jokes of my new team with ‘the last manager brought us coffee and cakes every day!’ mmm really?

However, you quickly learn that despite a new building, problems with parking and different computer systems that it is the same job.  The same dilemmas and same issues popping up, and soon I found myself easing in and offering my thoughts, when I should have just been observing.

Despite all of this I have been made to feel welcome my first three weeks planned out to the hour.  An induction to help me hit the ground running and learning everything from legal to placements and everything in between.

And despite the social work haters out there, the discussion is about safeguarding not removing – unless a child needs to be removed to safeguard them.  It was good to see and hear of the services working together to keep children within their own families.

I am glad I have made the changes and it looks like I will have a challenge in my new role and I am looking forward to that



A good ending


So the end has come, my last day in the looked after children’s team has past by.  I have said good bye to the team and my other colleagues that I have worked with for the past six years.  It has come at a good time in my social work career for me to move on.

Just as it is important to ensure endings are positive for young people, ensuring your own endings are good is also equally important.  I have learnt very much over the past six years that a good working relationship within the service helps you achieve better outcomes for the young people you work with.

I have a better understanding of health, education, youth offending and CAMHS from ensuring I worked closely with them, attending team meetings, completing joint visits and that all important social work skill of making a good cup of coffee!

My last day was filled with sadness and joy, and most of it was spent in a daze as everyone else remained focused on their daily routines I seemed to float around the office ensuring i had completed everything I could.  There is always a drama in the office and on my last day as an observer it was good to see that everyone pulls together to ensure that the person having a difficult time is helped and supported.

I also had a choice of having my leaving lunch in the office or going out; and knowing my team if there was lunch in the office they would not stop working.  So we took a rare break and ate out a good opportunity for me to say goodbye and for the team to say hello to our new worker!

I have been very lucky in my time working for my LA, but now I have said goodbye and had a positive ending I am looking forward to moving on and learning something new and helping others to learn in their practise.

New Starts!

Its getting closer, the day that I start my new role – and this is where it does get strange because although it is a new role and a new local authority its not a new job or even a major job change!

Still I will be the new boy on the block, the unknown social worker and as such (hopefully) will be getting an ‘induction’! Looking back at when i started my current post and even my previous post this has always been a non starter; on both occasions the manager was not in to great me and worse still know one was prepared for me to start.  Which for my current post was considerably harder as the team looked to me to be their manager from 9am the morning I started.  I can remember feeling very anxious about this as I knew one other worker had gone for the post I was in and she was still within the team! a popular staff member who was very experienced and very awkward for a while.

However, social work is not easy, and having to learn the role by doing is a painful experience but one you never forget – I am not advocating that this is the right approach and can remember on both occasions questioning why I had made the move!

Suddenly though I receive an e-mail Dear SimplySW prior to you commencing your role please can you complete two compulsory e-learning course! we have booked you on a meet the Chief Exc morning! and once you start we expect you to complete the rest of the e-learning course.  Hang on a minute! this can not be right? this almost sounds prepared and thought about, logical and welcoming even maybe supportive!

Well I will soon find out, and already looking forward to making this change.

Time for a change!

Its that time of the year when everyone is talking about change and after all it is the New Year the time when most people try to make a positive change whether it to be diet, drink less or give up smoking!  However, this time for me its my job after five years working in one local authority I am looking to make a change and continue to broaden my skills and knowledge.

I have to confess though that this is a very scary time for me – where I currently work I know the services, I know all of the people and have good multi agency relationships that help me achieve good outcomes for the young people I work with.  I have a good team of social workers who make hard days good days, I have seen and encouraged them to develop in their practise and take on their own new challenges.

Sometimes I do wonder why if it is so good would I want to change? the answer is simple and despite the fear of any change, I enjoy social work.  Meeting new people and learning never taking any situation for granted.  I know that there will be those that disagree with social work and will probably be banging their drums about Social Services being the new ‘SS’ just wanting to remove children because of the power that we hold.

But for me change brings a new challenge, fresh practise and new people to meet and a chance for me to bring my own practise to them, whilst learning a new approach.  It also means that I can be challenged by my peers and the people I work with without the bias of everyone knowing me and allowing my practise to be questioned without any possible bias.  Whilst I always practise openly there is nothing like the fear of not having a job that keeps you working hard.

So this year is going to be a big year for me in Social Work and I am really looking forward to the opportunities it is going to bring to me.  I am also looking forward to what I can bring to social work this year, as always I can see that there will be many changes in the practise and legislation.  I also hope that social work will be recognised this year both in the media and by other professionals to be supported in the fight against child cruelty and neglect and helping vulnerable families bring about change without the need of protection plans and high end heavy intervention by social workers.

What do you want to achieve this year in your social work practise?