Yesterday, the Scottish Sunday Mirror had a column entitled ‘Sack the bad Social Workers’. The article can be found here. I read it briefly and although I would never condone poor practice or poor practitioners, I can’t help but feel that the journalist was just taking a cheap stab in the dark at a profession that is one of the few that comes in as being less popular than ‘journalist’ in the public perception.
The very brief crux of the story relates to a report presented by a Social Worker to a court which recommended a non-custodial sentence to an offender who had committed a violent crime. The judge decided a custodial sentence was required after judging (because that’s what judges do) the arguments on both sides.
This has raised the ire of the journalist. The social worker in question is clearly, in her eyes, incompetent because they came to a different conclusion than the one she had come to.
In these unforgiving times, you would expect to lose your job if you screwed up big time. If your judgment was so poor it cost your company money you’d be out of the door smartish.
Those are the rules most of us live by, and nothing concentrates the mind more than the fear of getting chucked out.
But not if you’re a social worker.
Nine times out of 10 you’ll keep your job despite a cock-up.
I wonder if she is as bitter as she actually presents herself. Or if she is playing to the crowd who bay for the blood of social workers as a matter of course.
Looking back at the issue of producing a court report, surely it is something that is considered by the judge who looks at different opinions and makes his judgement on that basis, rather than an automatic adherence to the social worker’s report. If the judge (and there is absolutely no evidence of this – especially given the outcome) does that, then surely it is lazy ‘judging’. Of course, professional reports are important but they are advice rather than directives.
Oh, but the journalist, Anna Smith adds a brief addendum
What chance have we got if social workers get it so wrong so often?
Of course I don’t mean all of them. Most do a brilliant job. But as in any other walk of life, some are just no good.
All of us live with the consequences of endless inept social-work reports to courts. Time and again, thugs walk free because they have managed to convince their social worker that they have turned over a new leaf.
Do these social workers really do their training coming up the Clyde? Are they buttoned up the back? It seems that way to me.
Hmm.. some social workers ‘do a brilliant job’. Well, maybe more attention other than the five words that testify to that fact would create a different image of the profession that is just so easy to kick.
And honestly, as stated previously, judges are not obliged at any point to adhere solely to the evidence presented by the social workers who have clearly been hoodwinked by thugs.
It seems that Anna Smith wants to hold the social worker more responsible for the crime and its resolution than the actual perpetrator.