Weekly Social Work Links 29

After my absence last week, I’m back with some of the links I’ve come across that I’ve found useful over the last week (or two because I’m covering some of the posts I missed during my weekend away!) which relate in some way to social work – some more than others!

Enjoy and as usual, please feel free to add your own links in the comments section.

A Deck of Many Things has a great piece about multiculturalism.

Chris Mills highlights the rise in care applications in England and Wales.

The Masked AMHP has a fantastic post about what happens in CMHT (Community Mental Health Team) assessment. Highly recommended (as always with his posts!)

In a very specific post, Jamie Middleton explains about contingency plans for a ‘flu epidemic in compulsory mental health services in England and Wales. 

How not to do Social Work writes about ‘Good Enough’ parenting.

Social Worker Mom worries about becoming a ‘Mean Girl’ (can’t imagine that myself!)

And SocialJerk writes about ‘ghettos’.

Classroom to Capitol has a post about being unreasonable

Diary of a Social Worker has a post about eligibility criteria for his service and those who don’t meet it.

On another tack, Mike at Gamer Therapist explains why he says no to some referrals.

Social Work Career Development has a post about Gestalt Therapy and Dream Analysis (and being particularly unknowledgeable about both, it was certainly educational for me!).

Aunt Bertha writes about the importance of gathering data. A quick example of the importance of evidence bases to service commission and provision!

I know there are some fantastic posts that I’ve missed out but hopefully I’ll be able to pick up more next week.

To all in England and Wales, enjoy the holiday weekend Smile

Oath or Affirmation?

I have to say my beliefs or lack of them have no great impact on my daily life. I suppose they would if I were particularly religious  but I’d probably place myself as comfortably agnostic with enough doubts to veer intermittently towards atheism and then come back to my issue being more with organised religion than belief itself.

I don’t claim to place any logic on it but in my view belief is something personal to me. So usually I would say I have some vague notions of belief in a kind of higher being but I would not describe myself as religious in any way, despite, or perhaps because I was raised in a vaguely (although not oppressively) religious household.  While being perfectly comfortable around people who are religious, it is all fairly neutral to me.

image IntangibleArts @ flickr

With one exception. I went to court earlier in the week for a 135 (1) Warrant under the Mental Health Act. It is the only situation that my religious beliefs or lack of them are ever questioned.

Usually, the process of applying for a warrant goes as follows.

I complete a written application in the office outlining the reasons we need a warrant. I have to include a very brief summary of the risks involved and why access would only be possible with a warrant (for example, explaining that previous attempts have been in vain).

On arriving at court at a specified time, I go to the Duty Clerk who has an office and he or she checks I have completed the application correctly and that I am properly authorised by the local authority.

Before I leave the office, there is a part of the document that asks to ‘delete as applicable’ whether you are going to make an oath or an affirmation. This is where my dilemma starts.

I have invariably stuck to affirmations. I always feel that slight childhood guilt at doing so though.

The clerk sends me up to a particular court room and I shuffle in very self-consciously – usually with some kind of trial in progress and sit at the side and wait for a gap in proceedings when I will be called up.

The clerk in the courtroom will ask me whether I want to take an oath or make an affirmation and provide a bible for an oath and – well, a script to read for the affirmation. It’s all fairly subtle.

Yesterday was a bit different. Through the ways the courts function, I found myself in what must have been the smallest court in the building. Rather than being asked if I wanted to make an oath or affirmation before presenting my evidence, I was asked more boldly (and loudly) if I ‘had a religious belief or not’.

Noting this was not a time for a spiritual self-examination, I stuck with the affirmation as planned.

But I was a caught a bit off-guard by the question.

I do wonder sometimes if I’m the only person who is genuinely perplexed by the decision to take an oath or an affirmation when I go to court. I spoke to a colleague about it and she laughed saying, quite rightly, there were much more troublesome dilemmas with which I should concern myself! Ultimately, as long as I have complete, true and accurate information, it doesn’t really matter.

But I’ll stick with my affirmations for now. Although I have a bit of childhood residual guilt, it somehow feels more honest for me, personally.

I wonder if I have reached a point of over-reflection!

Training

It’s a fairly busy month in the Mental Health teams with the impeding (3rd November) changes in the Mental Health legislation in England and Wales.

Having attended my ASW (Approved Social Worker) to AMHP (Approved Mental Health Professional) conversion course, a mere 3 months after receiving my warrant, I have somehow (actually, I believe it’s related to the above!) become involved in the training of other members of our service in the changes that are coming in with the new legislation.

k.susuki at flickr

k.susuki at flickr

I ran (with a colleague) the first of the training sessions yesterday. It was a lot more positive than I had feared it would be. I was concerned that either there would be some ‘information overload’ or that I had pared too finely the ‘essential information’ needed. Too much reliance on PowerPoint too. That was a genuine worry

It was the first time I’d delivered training, as such. I have given presentations but they have tended to be much shorter – of up to an hour. I spent a couple of years teaching English as a Second Language, mostly overseas and to a wide variety of age groups and levels but again, those sessions were much shorter. At least it had given me a lot of experience with ‘interesting’ activities and the importance of some element of interaction and group work.

But this was training. This was different. This was new.

We had drummed together a few activities related to the subject matter including a quick quiz on current legislation (with one .. um..  deliberate mistake)  and a couple of case studies with lots of discussion points.

We have another couple of general sessions to run as well as some more specialised ones on request. I think there’s a little bit of fine-tuning to be done before the next session.. maybe the ‘deliberate’ error was a little too subtle!

We made significant use of the materials provided on the Care Services Improvement Partnership site, which comes highly recommended.

They even have a  very handy (and brief) summary of all the changes here.

As for the training, well, it isn’t over yet. I enjoyed it though. I definitely see it as an area that I would like to develop in my own work. My not-so-secret ambition has always been to move towards teaching when I do just get too tired to continue with the front line work. Management of a team doesn’t interest me and I’ve harboured the wish to move into a more pedagogical role for many years. All these experiences are good then in the long term planning.