Social work must redesign and reimagine practice alongside people, Chief Social Worker says

Chief Social Worker for Adults Lyn Romeo and DHSC publish their annual report highlighting key achievements and setting objectives for the next year.

12/05/22

Social work must redesign and reimagine practice alongside people, Chief Social Worker says

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and the Chief Social Worker (CSW) for Adults, Lyn Romeo, have published their annual report setting out priorities including supporting social care reform, training for the workforce and recovery from the pandemic and its impact on staff and service users.

The report congratulated the social work and social care profession on continuing to rise to the challenges created by the pandemic with “compassion, empathy and dedication”.

“Those of you working as or with social workers in adult social care have felt the negative effects of the pandemic on the health and wellbeing of our communities more keenly than others,” Minister for Care, Gillian Keegan, wrote.

“COVID-19 has touched all of us in different ways, but as social workers, you not only had personal experience, you also witnessed its often devastating effects on others.”

The report also noted the effort to make staff wellbeing more central for organisations in the sector, with practitioners having better access to supervision and peer support as well as continuing professional development (CPD) opportunities. It said that staff have also been better supported to prioritise care and meet individual needs through risk assessment tools and a decision-making framework put together by Principal Social Workers (PSWs), supported by directors of adult social services.

Practitioners and those responsible for adult safeguarding were encouraged to reflect on and revisit their current practice with the recent publication of the ‘Revisiting Safeguarding’ guidance to support and assure themselves of the quality and responsiveness of their adult safeguarding work.

The report also gave an update on the landmark reform of the Mental Health Act, which saw Jason Brandon appointed into the role of Mental Health Social Work Lead. Brandon, who has been seconded from Head of Mental Health/Physical Disability Services in Hampshire, is working to strengthen Approved Mental Health Professional (AMHP) workforce arrangements and introduce monitoring mechanisms to illustrate AMHP activity. The reforms are focusing on improvements relating to section 140 and section 117 practices, to facilitate a strengthened role for Safeguarding Adults Boards and the welfare of people using mental health services, and to ensure that social care is central to the development of the statutory care planning arrangements in the context of the Mental Health Community Transformation.

The report outlined various CSW-led projects for the year ahead, including promoting and advising on investment in research including advising on further research for emerging issues such as the impact of and recovery from COVID, social work leadership and strengths based social work practice in working with homeless people.

Other priorities included supporting and strengthening personalisation and choice within care, and promoting improved practice on equality, diversity and inclusion including access to continued professional development for all social care staff.

Chief Social Worker for Adults, Lyn Romeo, said: “I am so grateful to everyone working in the social care sector, especially for their work over the past year during the pandemic.”

“Looking to the year ahead, we’ll look to support the social care reform, the vital recovery from the pandemic and strengthen post-qualifying standards to support the workforce.

“As we learn to live with Covid, social work must redesign and reimagine practice alongside people, their carers and the communities they live in to be ambitious in providing the best outcomes for all.”

The report includes special thanks to stakeholders, including the British Association of Social Workers (BASW), for its publication of a consistent pathway of development for social workers and their employers to ensure reliable and quality care for people with learning disabilities and for social work with autistic adults their carers.

Music for Dementia, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, National Institute for Health Research, Research in Practice, Skills for Care, Think Local Act Personal (TLAP) and The Principal Social Workers’ Network, were also commended in the report.

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