Community Care reports in their Social Work Blog that the women’s magazine ‘Take a Break’ has taken up the cause of positive social work stories with a headline of ‘Thank God for Social Workers’ which started with this week’s magazine. This follows on directly from Community Care’s own campaign Stand Up Now for Social Work!.
In the interests of research, of course, I bought a copy of Take a Break. The article is a couple of pages spread about what good work social workers do and how unappreciated they are.
It makes a change to see something positive to be honest. I sometimes envy our nursing colleagues and the overall angelic perceptions that they attract. Don’t get me wrong though, I could never do the job they do and have the utmost admiration for them – I do feel a bit grumbly at times though that the attention attracted by social workers is usually negative.
It was good to see a major national magazine take up the issue though as well, of course, as Community Care – which as a magazine directly for the Social Care sector, is an unsurprising supporter! The only pause for concern I had came at the bottom of the article when they invited readers to write in to the magazine with their own experiences of social workers ‘good or bad’. Now, many people call me a cynic and it wouldn’t be unfair to do so but I have a sinking feeling about some of those ‘bad’ experiences. I know I should be more optimistic though!
The way of the world is that we will always be constrained by issues of confidentiality when speaking out about individual situations or successes. Also, depending on the type of social work practiced, ‘success’ isn’t always easy to measure – especially over the short term. I’ve harped on about this before but genuinely feel that there is an element of wishing to sweep some of the every day issues that we work and deal with ‘under the carpet’ and that feeds into the overall dismissal of any kind of positive regard for social work.
I also think, in the UK at any rate, the profession hasn’t really helped herself. The GSCC (General Social Care Council) has presented some kind of mish-mash of post-qualification that has led to increasing specialisation. Is that any surprise as there is only two registered social workers on the ‘’Council’ of the General Social Care Council (both very distant from any kind of front line practice – one took the management and executive route and the other is an academic) – this is supposed to be the body that is responsible for overseeing the registration of all social workers and social work students – that upholds the codes of practice that we are obliged to work towards and, as they claim, it is their job to champion social care and to help give it the recognition it deserves.
And of course, as a government QUANGO, they are appointed and accountable to the government departments and the mealy-mouthed politicians who have no interest in promoting social work as a positive channel for change. So what do we pay them for? (because we pay a fee, of course, to be registered). We pay to hold our names on the lists of registration – but why isn’t the GSCC ‘speaking up for social work’ when one of it’s listed aims is to champion social care?
I haven’t seen much evidence for it. I get more value from the 78p I pay for Take a Break to be honest.
So I’d urge anyone so inclined to go and grab a copy of Take a Break (and if you have the answer to the crossword on p48, I’d be grateful – I need to win that deluxe bedroom makeover!).
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