Westminster awards provide platform for social work debates

Last week’s sixth annual Social Worker of The Year Awards saw senior figures and frontline workers debate a series of issues including universal health care, adoption in the media and the growth of adult co-operative models.

On a day which saw social workers from across England receive recognition for their achievements in practice, organisers decided to open the floor for debate, enabling social workers to question a judging panel that included NSPCC chief executive Andrew Flanagan, Baroness Sally Morgan and top academics from the field of health and social care.

A Rotherham based service manager raised significant concerns about the provision of universal health care when a child moves from the remit of one Primary Care Trust (PCT) and into the remit of another, saying: “ Although the costs must be covered by the new area of residency, I hear too often about prohibitive costs being quoted. Is it time for a national review to ensure equitable costs across trusts?”

National Association of Guardians ad Litem and Reporting Officers (NAGALRO) chair, Ann Haigh, said: “ It is vitally important that access to care remains as constant as possible and issues such as this should ideally be dealt with at the outset of any new consortia, to save having to do so in retrospect.”

Director of schools, children and families at Essex County Council, Dave Hill added: “ Care services can have a huge effect on a child’s future and should be thought of as something that enhances, not blights a life.”

Responding to a question about the portrayal of adoption in the media, BASW chief executive Hilton Dawson said: “ I suppose we should be grateful that adoption is high enough up the political agenda that the prime minister mentions it at a party conference, and we would be, were it not for the simplistic approach that we see time and again from politicians and in the media, failing to take into account the broad range of services available in these sort of circumstances.”

Responding to a question from an independent social worker about the future of adult co-operative models, chair of The Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) workforce development team, Jo Cleary, said: “ it is all too easy for those of us in adult settings to feel like the Cinderella of social work, so anything that leads to passionate, innovative work is fantastic to see.”

The two hour long debate also took in discussions of research methodology and the ongoing role of practice educators.

Pictures from the Social Worker of the Year Awards 2011
http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/sets/72157628509753275/