social work

1b World Social Work Day

In the second part of our first podcast we talk about World Social Work Day 2016 and what it means to be part of a global profession.

1a Integrity

The first part of our first podcast looks at the topic of integrity in social work, and explores what it means to be true to oneself, how we develop resilience and how we use our whole self in our practice.


Introductory podcast

This podcast explains who we are, why we are doing this podcast on Helpful Social Work and what each podcast will cover.

New Year blog: learning from 2015; hopes for 2016

The blogs that I have written in 2015 show the shape of my year: January’s was on stress following a survey by Community Care; for world social work day in March I wrote about the importance to me of having a college of social work; May’s blog was about the election and its implications for social work; through the summer I wrote about the closure of the college and how we could take its legacy onwards; I finished up the year with a blog on motivation following the November spending review.

‘Don’t accept this narrative of failure – the college achieved a lot’

By Ruth Allen, Brigid Featherstone and Gerry Nosowska - chairs of the mental health, children’s and adults’ faculties of the College of Social Work

Now that some weeks have elapsed since the shock announcement that the College of Social Work (TCSW) is to close, as chairs of the three faculties we think it timely to offer our reflections on its achievements and legacy.

On a dark day, we need to be hopeful and proactive

A few months ago I wrote this blog about why a professional college for social work matters to me. Yesterday, I found out that the college of social work is to close because of lack of funding.

This news doesn’t change the reasons why a college matters to me:

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How to be a social worker under this government

I’ve just come back from Community Care Live – a big national conference for social workers. Two days of learning, discussing and being around social care people has given me a lot of time to think about what the election result means and how social work should respond. There’s a lot to be concerned about in this government’s plans: a further £12 billion in welfare cuts; reducing the benefit cap by a further £3000; scrapping the human rights act. And this is after five years of cuts, in which financial support to local authorities from the government has decreased by 40%.

So what do we do now? Here are some thoughts inspired by what I heard at Community Care Live.

Why a professional college for social work matters to me

It’s World Social Work Day so a good time to reflect on why social work is important and what helps it to thrive. I’ve just become the chair of the Adults faculty of The College of Social Work so want to share my thoughts about what a professional college can and should do for social work.

Firstly, why is it important to have good social work?

What helps social workers feel less stressed?

In the safety announcement on planes, you are asked to put your own oxygen mask on before helping others with theirs. Social workers cannot help people effectively if they are overwhelmed themselves.

I am really sad to see the results from the Community Care survey about the level of stress that social workers are experiencing. Each response that highlights stress is someone struggling and worrying, often feeling very alone.

In workshops that I do with social care practitioners and managers people talk a lot about stress because of the amount of work they have to do, the complexity and unpredictability of the work, and the responsibility they feel. Here are some of the things that we discuss that might help you if you are stressed.

What’s the story, social work?

Social work seems to be in two minds at the moment. Is it a strong profession, recognised and valued? Or is it a struggling profession, overrun by work and affected by cuts?

I think it is a bit of both and that a tale about social work needs to tell both stories: a strengthening profession in increasingly difficult times. Social work has always worked at two levels: with individuals and with society. The way in which social workers support people is affected by the context.


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