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One thing that is always true in social work is the fact that you continue to reflect about almost everything that happens throughout the day. And this got me to thinking about where is the best place for social workers to be working to do this. The picture above is a call centre, but is so close to what my office looks like that it worries me, in fact at least these workers have sound boards to prevent the noise going side ways.
The office space that social workers work in has always been a hot topic to discuss and one I first wrote about in ‘fish bowl working‘ but over the past two years a lot has changed and significantly about social work practise and a time has come that the profession of social work has needed to be taken seriously, regulated and more importantly founded in a culture of learning and research that is respected in the courts and by other professionals.
So here we are two years on, with funding that has been cut to all services and an increase by the public of an awareness of the flaws in the current child protection system. Which could not be ignored and lead to the Munro Review, which is still to be fully implemented. We have had along side this with children in care teams a trial of Social Work Practises which has recently had a review that can be found here.
Which leads me to where I again started to reflect about the location that I work, the office above is neither supportive of reflective practise or one where you can think, learn and share good practise. But perhaps more importantly it is removed from the community and the children and families that we are supposed to be working with.
Maybe I am not the only one but I certainly feel like that I am where the world has gone mad. In an attempt to achieve the change needed in Child Protection a ‘Systems thinking’ approach is being used to improve outcomes for the children and their families. Where the key resource is the social worker for them. BUT we continue to be hidden in our hard to reach, far removed office location where the council is trying to save money by selling off buildings and cramming all services in to one location.
So with positive changes comes another brick wall, which requires good will of other services to lend the use of their buildings when they are empty in order to deliver the service that is essentially needed by the most vulnerable people who may not always want to make the long journey to County Hall, to discuss their worries and fears in a room that is not friendly or supportive.
Please please if we are going to improve social work, lets not stop half way make the changes count and enable better social work practise at every level of reflection, learning and allow it to be open to inspection from the people that most need it because they can drop in and speak to a social worker whenever they wish.