An article examined proposals in England to pilot work-based training of child protection social workers, based within local authorities ('the agency') rather than university social work departments ('the academy'). The article discussed the traditional dual academic/practice model of social work education, and considered whether training by 'the agency', as used in nursing and probation services, was equally effective. The paper also considered the Helsinki model (a synergy of 'academy' and 'agency'), and the possibilities for models of social work education, practice, and research.
Source: Martin Webber, Mark Hardy, Simon Cauvain, Aino Kaariainen, Mirja Satka, Laura Yliruka, and Ian Shaw, 'W(h)ither the academy? An exploration of the role of university social work in shaping the future of social work in Europe', European Journal of Social Work, Volume 17 Issue 5
A new book examined the engagement of social workers with social policy formulation processes, often termed 'policy practice', in eight liberal democracies, including England.
Source: John Gal and Idit Weiss-Gal, Social Workers Affecting Social Policy: An international perspective, Policy Press
An article examined the structural challenges at political, practice, regulatory, and individual levels that affected the ability of social workers to cross borders. Drawing on two empirical research projects, it said that a set of factors operating on the macro, meso, and micro levels affected transnational social workers from within the European Economic Area differently to those from outside, and that their experience was further influenced by the ability to transfer training and skills into the United Kingdom cultural context.
Source: Shereen Hussein, 'Hierarchical challenges to transnational social workers' mobility: the United Kingdom as a destination within an expanding European Union', British Journal of Social Work, Volume 44 Supplement 1
A report examined the need for greater numbers of highly trained social workers that specialized in mental health. The report considered issues regarding recruitment, education, and training, and the role of social workers within integrated mental health teams. It proposed the creation of a fast-track graduate recruitment programme (provisionally known as 'Think Ahead') to attract high calibre graduates into mental health social work, and considered how evidence from graduate recruitment schemes in similar fields might inform the design of the proposed new programme.
Source: Jonathan Clifton and Craig Thorley, Think Ahead: Meeting the workforce challenges in mental health social work, Institute for Public Policy Research
A study examined behavioural factors affecting social workers' decision-making in England, and how that might be improved, focused on the point at which children first came into contact with the child protection system. The report said that there were four key behavioural factors that affected social workers' decisions: time and workload pressures that increased the reliance upon intuition; a range of behavioural biases; decision fatigue; and the relatively low quality of available information. The report said that there was an overarching lack of robust evidence on what worked in particular contexts, which complicated all of these behavioural factors and compromised both existing diagnostic practice and the development of better approaches. The report concluded that future decision-making could be aided by insights from the behavioural sciences, and made a range of recommendations.
Source: Elspeth Kirkman and Karen Melrose, Clinical Judgement and Decision-Making in Children's Social Work: An analysis of the 'front door' system, Research Report 337, Department for Education
A report (by an official advisory body) provided the outcome of a review of the United Kingdom law relating to the regulation of healthcare professionals and, in England only, the regulation of social workers. It set out a new single legal framework with new powers and duties for regulators, and included a draft Bill.
Source: Regulation of Health Care Professionals Regulation of Social Care Professionals in England, Cm 8839, Law Commission
The inspectorate for education and children's services examined the effectiveness of arrangements to safeguard children who experience neglect, drawing on case evidence and the views of parents, carers and professionals in England. It outlined areas of practice where there was particular concern, and said that more needed to be done to identify and respond effectively to the earliest stages of neglect. It called for local authorities and local safeguarding children boards to improve their understanding of the extent of neglect in their areas and to develop shared strategies to prioritize action. It also recommended that social work training should be improved, to increase professional understanding of the impact of neglect.
Source: In the Child's Time: Professional responses to neglect, HMI 140059, Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills
A government department published the results of a review of children's social work education. The report made a range of recommendations, including: for a single document outlining what a newly qualified social worker should understand; for universities to have a minimum qualifications requirement at entry; to consider the role of the Health and Care Professions Council; for degrees to be endorsed and for the endorsement to be rigorously monitored, including the quality of practice placements; for changes to the Step Up and Frontline programmes; for the development of degrees specific to children's social work; and for consideration of a work-based, non-graduate qualification.
Source: Martin Narey, Making the Education of Social Workers Consistently Effective: Report of Sir Martin Nareyï¿½s independent review of the education of childrenï¿½s social workers, Department for Education
A report examined whether social work education was still suited to the changing nature of the profession, in the context of the changes to social work practice brought about by the Social Work Task Force and Social Work Reform Board, and their own recommendations for social work education. The Department for Health said that the recommendations would inform talks about the future of social work education.
Source: David Croisdale-Appleby, Re-visioning Social Work Education: An independent review