I’ve been invited to deliver a workshop at the Compass Jobs Fair in Birmingham on March  19th to coincide with World Social Work Day. Having been asked to discuss social work in the digital age, I can’t help thinking what our world of work will look like on future World Social Work Days.

How long will it be before social workers complete a vastly reduced number of visits to their clients and do the bulk of work by Skype?

How long will it be before attempts are made to get social workers to encourage people to fill in forms online and assess their needs remotely?

How long will it be before there are discussions of cameras strategically placed in homes where children and vulnerable people are considered to be at risk?

I can think of some advantages provided there are for confidential booths in social work offices that would mean evidence could be given in court cases without leaving your workplace. Or strategy meetings held as a matter of course in video conference calls. Certainly isolated, elderly relatives can regularly be linked with distant family and there’s no reason why all generations can’t learn basic internet usage.

We already have houses and flats being designed for the vulnerable that are fully of cutting edge sensors geared to report any difficulty – either medical or practical – that the occupant experiences and to immediately summon support.

There will always be a tension between the digital world and the physical life with advocates passionate on both sides. I’m looking to advocate podcasting and blogging as an educative medium for social workers operationally and for these to be spread through the population via social media. As well as discussing the ethical and moral arguments on what some people call invasive intelligence gathering by authories of citicens social media.

If you’re going to Birmingham on the 19th I’d be delighted for you to come along and give me your opinions. If not I’ll be sure to write more about it and look forward to your comments.

Listen to my podcasts where I speak to Lyn Romeo  and Shirley Ayers about the use of technology in social work.

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