My main concern is that Norfolk 'social workers' are not working as social workers and this is not because of inadequate training - social work training is thorough and rigourous. Let me explain further: there are standards that social workers have to work to. These are set out now in the Professional Capabilities Framework (PCF) developed by the Social Work Reform Board and which replaces the National Occupational Standards issued by ToPPs in 2004. This is just one section of the PCF:
Intervention & Skills - Social Worker
Social workers engage with individuals, families, groups and communities, working alongside people to assess and intervene. They enable effective relationships and are effective communicators, using appropriate skills. Using their professional judgement, they employ a range of interventions: promoting independence, providing support and protection, taking preventative action and ensuring safety whilst balancing rights and risks. They understand and take account of differentials in power, and are able to use authority appropriately. They evaluate their own practice and the outcomes for those they work with.
- Communicate with compassion and authority in challenging situations and with resistant individuals
- Routinely explain professional reasoning, judgements and decisions
- Engage effectively with people in complex situations, both short-term and building relationships over time
- Gather information so as to inform judgement for interventions in more complex situations and in response to challenge.
- Use assessment procedures discerningly so as to inform judgement
- Develop a range of interventions; use them effectively and evaluate them in practice.
- Expand intervention methods and demonstrate expertise in one or more specific methods relevant to your setting.
- Make timely decisions when positive change is not happening
- Actively support and initiate community groups and networks, including professional ones.
- Clearly report and record analysis and judgements
- Demonstrate and promote appropriate information sharing.
- Use contingency planning to anticipate complexity and changing circumstances.
- Recognise and appropriately manage the authority inherent in your position
- Demonstrate confident and effective judgement about risk and accountability in your decisions
- Regularly undertake assessment and planning for safeguarding
It is my opinion that social workers in Norfolk are not allowed by their employer (by restrictive and managerialist practice) to operate as social workers should and I think Norfolk should be made accountable for this. Reference to OFSTED should be a first step.