Should service users have an entitlement to social work?

  • Report by Community Care 02/10/2012


    /images/blog/open_quote.jpgThe UK government is seeking to extend the frontiers of choice and control in adult social care beyond direct the direct provision of support to assessment. Its recent White Paper proposed the creation of a market in assessment provision, enabling people who appear to have community care needs to be assessed by organisations other than the council, such as user-led organisations or emerging independent social work practices.

    A recent draft paper from the British Association of Social Workers Social Work with Adults Group moots the idea of giving people an entitlement to social work. I will quote the passage that I've seen to remove any room for my interpretation though it is worth pointing out this is not BASW policy but an idea it is considering:

    BASW believes that people receiving services should be entitled to receive social work services as part of their support plan and should receive information on the advantages of receiving a social work service and about their qualifications skills and experience.

    Where people may be lacking the capacity to request this service managers should give due consideration to allocate a qualified social worker.

    Therefore access to the skills of a registered social worker should be available at all stages of the 'care pathway', via one of two routes:

    1. At any time at the request of the service user or carer during their self-directed support/assessment process. Transparency here is the key - all service users and carers should be given information about the qualifications of the person allocated to assist them through the process and information should be given about the availability and potential advantages of using a registered social worker. (Information about other registered professionals could be made available in the same way)

    2. On the decision of the first line manager/practice supervisor, (who should be a registered social worker), where it appears:

    • That the client's mental capacity may be compromised

    • That there may be a conflict of interests, particularly between a service user and carer

    • That the client may be in need of safeguarding from physical sexual emotional or financial harm

    • That there are other complex matters that may require the exercise of professional judgement/discretion.  /images/blog/close_quotes.png

    Full article available here 





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