New Training For NI Social Workers

Social workers in Northern Ireland are to follow a new training strategy in a bid to boost public confidence.  Northern Ireland Office Social Services Minister Paul Goggins launched the strategy which will see thousands of social workers undertake regular training under the province`s Social Care Council. The council will also be tasked with monitoring the performance of social workers to ensure they are practising safely.

Mr Goggins said: “All of us at some time in our lives are likely to need social services. Often it is when we are at our most vulnerable that we need to use them. We must be able to have confidence that social services staff who come into our homes or look after us in residential homes or in day centres are highly skilled, well-motivated individuals who can deliver a safe and effective service. The strategy I am launching today aims to ensure everyone using social services in Northern Ireland can have that confidence.”

There are 4,000 social workers registered with the Northern Ireland Social Care Council, which was set up in 2001 to protect members of the public who access services.

With the sector experiencing considerable growth, it is estimated 40,000 staff are employed in the private and voluntary sector as well as health and social services trusts.

The council hopes to complete its registration for all staff by 2010.

Northern Ireland Social Care Council service users group member Brendan McKeever said the strategy would give carers and people who access services a key role in advising and tailoring training. “This means that social care workers get the opportunity to hear from the horse`s mouth what sort of services and care are really needed and service users and carers are helping directly to plan and deliver training.”