Abstracts: January 24th, 2011

This is the first report from the Social Work Reform Board which was set up a year ago following reccomendations of the Social Work Task Force for a comprehensive reform of the social work system.

The report sets out for the first time a single, national set of professional standards outlining what social workers are expected to do at every point in their career and what level of service the public can expect from them. This brings the profession in line with other public sector professionals like doctors, nurses and teachers.

The report describes the standards of supervision and support social workers should expect from their employers including making sure the right number of social workers with the right level of skills and experience are available to meet the level of demand and managing workloads and caseloads so that social workers are not overworked.

Social work education should also be reformed to improve the quality of social work degrees, with more rigorous selection criteria. The Board recommends that the design of social work courses should involve people who have experienced social services, so that the training properly reflects the real-life reality of the job.

This report marks a staging post in the journey of social work reform but the proposals within it provide a foundation for helping to deliver a better future for social work.

The report is available for download.