What is the future of social work?
What is going on?
Over a quarter of authorities in England are now deemed inadequate in some aspects of social services. Today Medway and Northampton join the list. Given the recruitment crises to child care social work where so many departments are boosted by short term agency places and others recruiting newly qualified social workers who obviously aren’t front line ready, is it any surprise that the public attitude to social work is confused and suspicious and, to a large extent, unsupportive. In most other western industrialised countries social work as a profession is reasonably well regarded but for some reasons in the UK it still seems that it has a long way to go.
Personally I am convinced that Britain still sees itself as a huge global player with echoes of Empire and so we have to face the reality that these days are gone, that we have considerable poverty and deprivation in our own country and that child abuse and dysfunctional families are in substantial numbers in society. There are so many things that we haven’t got right in making our citizens’ quality of life what it should be. So it is hardly surprising that there is a reluctance to embrace those who are charged with looking after the most vulnerable in society as that is tantamount to accepting that that level of poverty exists. I know it took medicine several hundreds of years to be accepted into society and social work has only been around in its present form for just over 40 years, but the speed of communication, ideas and opinions these days is so much faster we have to readdress this balance.
Every day that goes by that there is a distorted view of what social workers do continues to make it difficult for the worker on the doorstep trying to gain the trust of a family.