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Welfare reform on the Web (January 2007): Social care - UK

Language policy and provision in social service organisations

R. Pugh and D. Williams

British Journal of Social Work, vol.36, 2006, p.1227-1244

The problems that minority language speakers have in accessing social services in the UK are well known. A survey of social services departments and large voluntary agencies has shown that many still lack specific policies on the provision of services to minority language communities and that most remain poorly prepared to meet their needs.

Options for excellence: building the social care workforce of the future

Department for Education and Skills [and] Department of Health


This review makes no concrete recommendations on pay and refers the definition of social work to the General Social Care Council. It calls for the continued development of new roles and more flexible working practices so that qualified workers can make best use of their time. It floats the idea of Newly Qualified Social Worker Status, similar to Newly Qualified Teacher Status, as a long term goal. It also suggests the development of joint posts with universities, such as practitioner/researcher or user/teacher. It builds on the existing involvement of users in training and encourages employers to involve them in service design, staff training, and evaluation of outcomes. It also calls for a long-term campaign to improve the public image of social work and a strategy to support workforce development in the voluntary sector.

Palliative care, social work and service users: making life possible

P. Beresford, L. Adshead and S. Croft

Jessica Kingsley, 2006

Two groups of people use palliative care social work services: people living with terminal illnesses and those facing bereavement. This participatory project explored service users’ views of specialist palliative care social work practice as a basis for improving it by their involvement in its organisation, training and evaluation. Service users valued their experiences of palliative care social work and saw it as making a contribution to improving their lives. They appreciated the wide range of support social workers offered, including counselling and advice, practical help, advocacy, and individual and group work. In contrast, users expressed overwhelmingly negative views of generic social workers, seeing them as intrusive, bossy, controlling and ineffectual.

Performance ratings for adults’ social services in England

Commission for Healthcare Inspection

London: 2006

Social care services for adults have improved for the fourth successive year, but the rate of improvement is slowing down. In 2006, star ratings improved for 15 councils (17%) and deteriorated for 16 councils (11%). There are now 33 councils (22%) with one star, 73 (49%) with two stars and 44 (29%) with three stars. Other key findings are:

  1. 25 councils have improved for the fourth year running
  2. Ten new councils have achieved the top three star rating
  3. There are no zero star rated councils

The state of feminist social work

V. White

Abingdon: Routledge, 2006

Proponents of feminist social work often focus on the role of women social workers in developing distinctive forms of practice, rooted in a commitment to egalitarian relationships with women service users. This book, however, challenges the limitations of this perspective at a time of major change in social work’s policies, organisation and day-to-day practice. It traces key ideas in feminist social work from the 1970s through to the present day, and using data from interviews with women social workers, it draws out tensions between the literature and their experiences.

Time to let go

A.U. Sale

Community Care, Nov.30th-Dec.6th 2006, p.26-27

Government is developing new guidance for social care workers on managing service users’ exposure to risk. Staff face the challenge of balancing individual rights with the desire to minimise risk to clients and the wider community. The guidance will cover:

  1. Potential risk issues, with details on how some care providers have tackled them
  2. Conflict resolution by practitioners
  3. Advice on documenting decisions and how to ensure that users understand their responsibilities, so that they appreciate the implications if their choice goes wrong

When acting unlawfully is the legal thing to do

A. Norman

Professional Social Work, Dec. 2006, p.20-21

Social workers are subject to many forms of authority and the author aims to explore the dilemmas that arise when there is conflict between them, looking in particular at authority deriving from: the employment relationship; the civil law; the criminal law; and professional standards.

Wising up to what it’s all about

M. Payne

Professional Social Work, Dec. 2006, p.16-17

The author examines the increasing ubiquity of codes of ethics and codes of practice, and suggests that, while these written sets of rules cannot actively help in determining the exact decisions to be arrived at in the course of a day’s work, they can act as useful pointers in analysing a specific social work problem. In doing so, they help to create a map of issues most likely to challenge practitioners.

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