Helping social workers be helpful

Two years ago, Jo Fox and I started a podcast, Helpful Social Work. As we begin series 3, it is timely to reflect on our purpose.

Helpful Social Work aims to help social workers to learn, think and act with integrity so that people who need social work get help that will transform their lives. We started this podcast because social work matters to us. We see it as a crucial agent for liberty, equality and justice.

Our aim has always been to inspire people to consider how to be helpful. In series 1 and 2 we looked at the layers that influence who we are and how we behave day-to-day because it is our use of self that matters in social work. We explored our integrity, beliefs and values; our environment; our colleagues; our organisation; other agencies and; the public. All of these things affect how well we are able to fulfil our role. As we explored these areas, we talked about current topics that matter like recording, targets, hotdesking and austerity.

In series 3 we will use our two podcasts each month for two different strands:

  • The first is to explore the social work journey. We will explore how social workers work with people, starting with first contact, through assessment, planning, review and up to the transition or closure at the end of our work.
  • The second is to learn from other disciplines that can help us better understand how we can practice well. We will draw on science, social sciences and the arts to gain insight, for example learning from counselling about how to build relationships or from economics about how to make fair decisions about funding. We often draw on other disciplines in our thinking and so we want to share this with you.

We hope that these short discussions can be a way for social workers to reflect on our role and to grow in what we do. We also hope they will get people thinking. We include practical ideas, exercises and reflective points to support this.

We are delighted that more than 250 people around the world listen to each podcast – from Europe, North America, Australia, New Zealand, Asia and Africa.

And we are excited when people retweet, talk about or contact us about our work. Please keep doing so through, on iTunes, on twitter, our Facebook page or LinkedIn.

We are unapologetic about our desire to enthuse social workers to change the world. With passion, compassion and commitment, this role can make a dramatic difference.

Series 3 starts on Friday 13 April.

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