Council proposes to increase social worker caseloads to help address financial crisis| Community Care


The Government is wrong again for it is totally inappropriate for local government secretary Robert Jenrick to say the the authority had been “entirely irresponsible with their spending and investments”.

For it is the Government who are entirely irresponsible with their funding of not just Croydon, but all Local Authorities (LAs).

The funding of Social Care has never been sufficiently funded, even before 1970, when LAs were made responsible for all Social Care and the 10 years of austerity cuts only compounded this and then the additional costs related to COVID-19 made a very bad situation even worse.

Yes, the Government has provided some extra funding for COVID-19 costs incurred, but again the Government funding fell way short of what is required.

We all wonder what this Government is good at, well they are certainly good at getting things wrong, in fact on this they are exceptional, something they have fully mastered.

 

Source: Council proposes to increase social worker caseloads to help address financial crisis | Community Care

NHSI accused of ‘cover up’ over maternity deaths investigation | News | Health Service Journal


NHS Improvement, two royal colleges and the Care Quality Commission have been accused by a mother who lost her baby of trying to cover-up the findings of an independent investigation into a trust’s maternity services.

In an unprecedented move, NHSI has set up a so-called “independent review panel” to review the interim findings of the independent investigation of Shrewsbury and Telford Hospitals Trust, which was ordered by former health secretary Jeremy Hunt in 2017.

The panel also includes Gill Walton, chief executive of the Royal College of Midwives, and Lesley Regan, president of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. CQC deputy chief inspector Nigel Acheson is the final member of the panel.

The panel also includes Gill Walton, chief executive of the Royal College of Midwives, and Lesley Regan, president of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. CQC deputy chief inspector Nigel Acheson is the final member of the panel.

 

Source: NHSI accused of ‘cover up’ over maternity deaths investigation | News | Health Service Journal

Social care funding crisis leaves the NHS in limbo | Healthcare Professionals Network | The Guardian


Four themes dominated this year’s gathering of the health service clan at the NHS Confederation’s annual conference in Manchester: priorities for the new money, avoiding another winter crisis, re-energising the redesign of clinical services, and finding, keeping and training the staff to do it all.

The health and social care secretary, Jeremy Hunt, indicated the shape of the offer to be made to taxpayers over more NHS funding. It will be tied to “simple goals” on priorities such as cancer treatment, maternity, waiting time standards for mental health support and integrating health and social care.

Hunt and the NHS leadership are pinning their hopes on avoiding another winter dominated by the wholesale cancellation of elective surgery by freeing up 4,000 beds through slashing the number of long stayers. The plan is to cut the number of patients in hospital for more than three weeks by a quarter over the coming months. It is curious that there is not a parallel push to reduce inappropriate admissions of frail elderly people.

 

Source: Social care funding crisis leaves the NHS in limbo | Healthcare Professionals Network | The Guardian

Developments in Adult Social Care Bulletin: December 2017


Welcome to the December 2017 Developments in Adult Social Care Bulletin. This bulletin contains brief details of news, research reports, guidance, journal articles and government policy relating to adult social care.

 

Source: Developments in Adult Social Care Bulletin: December 2017

I’m a new junior doctor and I already hate my job | Healthcare Professionals Network | The Guardian


I knew it was going to be a baptism of fire, but I don’t want to risk people’s health for the sake of my own education

Source: I’m a new junior doctor and I already hate my job | Healthcare Professionals Network | The Guardian

I resigned as a lecturer after the university did not fail social work students


Original post from Community Care

‘…………..

A former social work senior lecturer details the on-going battle to maintain academic and professional standards amidst the marketisation of universities

Graduation ceremony (credit: REX/OJO s)
Graduation ceremony (credit: REX/OJO s)

Last week, after more than twenty years of university teaching, I handed in my notice and resigned from my post as senior lecturer in social work and course lead of a Masters in Advanced Practice.

I don’t have another job to go to and will, undoubtedly, miss the regular income and relative safety of a full-time, permanent post.

However, I won’t miss the twelve hour days, the working every weekend and the on-going battle with university managers to uphold and maintain the academic and professional standards required and expected on a social work degree programme.

In the end, it was this that finally did it for me, with one case of plagiarism in particular that tipped me over the edge.

This year at graduation, one of the final year students will be qualifying as a social worker having been found to have plagiarised on two separate occasions – once in a second year essay, and once in her final year dissertation.

One plagiarism case too many

While the university regulations are very clear about the punishment imposed for such a serious proven offence for the second time around (students should automatically ‘fail the assessment and fail the unit, with no right to re-sit’), this student has managed to successfully appeal on the grounds that such a penalty is unfairly harsh.

Joining her on the platform at the graduation ceremony will be two of her peers who have ‘only’ been subjected to a single academic misconduct panel having been found to have plagiarised just the once.

Standing behind them will be a further three students whose work was returned to me by the investigating officer and not subjected to the panel’s scrutiny, as their essays contained less than 20% of copied and pasted material from unattributed online sources.

If you’re a practitioner, this is the quality and calibre of the current crop of social work graduates coming to join a team or agency near you.

If you’re a service user, these are the sorts of individuals who might be acting as your care manager or key worker in the very near future.

How has it come to pass that on a course where values and ethics are embedded in the curriculum and the importance of openness and honesty are taught from day one, we have six out of forty-two final year students behaving like this?

How is it, on a University programme that has recently been approved by the HCPC and endorsed by TCSW, we are only able to initiate suitability procedures when misconduct relates to practice? (In the cases outlined above, proven plagiarism was judged to be an academic misdemeanour and therefore outside the reach of the professional suitability procedures).

Changing landscape

The problems, in my opinion, relate to the changing landscape and political context in which social work education has been taking place.

When I first began teaching in 1993, the social work programme was ‘full’ when the course had recruited thirty candidates. Seminars had no more than fifteen students in a class to maximise discussion and debate. Personal tutors had one group of between eight and ten tutees to support on placement, so that visits for the practice learning contract and interim reviews were manageable, given the likely travelling distances.

Since then, student numbers have increased dramatically while the numbers of full-time, permanent teaching staff have remained static. For example, in the department I have just left, we enrolled over eighty first-year undergraduates during last September’s induction programme with the same number of full-time, permanent staff (six) that we have had since the new degree began in 2003.

More students, same number of staff

Running in parallel is a thriving post-graduate / Masters pathway as well as a foundation degree in Health and Social Care:  both these new extensions to the portfolio have been designed, developed and delivered with little in the way of additional staff or extra resources.

What we’ve seen is a student to staff ratio that has steadily risen so that a seminar group of thirty students becomes, by necessity, more of a workshop. Personal tutor groups have doubled in size to at least twenty, so that supporting and visiting your personal tutees, when they are out on placement, is twice the work that visiting ten used to be.

If you are allocated two (or more) tutor groups, then it is a moot point just how ‘personal’ this important relationship can actually be (and just how many tutees you can logistically visit in the time that you have available).

Knock-on effect

The knock-on effect of this intense expansion has had a significant impact on weary academics. Lecturing to a large cohort requires a very specific set of skills and abilities, and holding the interest and attention of such a big group of diverse learners is no small task.

While the time taken to plan and prepare a lecture is broadly equivalent regardless of the size of the audience, the same cannot be said for the associated marking of students’ assessed work: it takes a lot longer to read, mark and write feedback on eighty essays than it ever did for thirty.

Increasing the number of people accessing higher education and implementing strategies to widen participation has changed the academic profile of the student body with a steep rise in applications coinciding with the introduction of the social work bursary.

While numbers may have recently settled, we can (and do) frequently accept candidates with much less than the minimum 240 UCAS points  (3 C grades at A-level) making the first year of study at university a challenge for many students who require specialist input and support from study skills and Student Services.

Mass market in education

But curiously, this does not seem to have a subsequent impact on the class of degree a student might hope to get, with eleven people on last year’s social work course receiving a first, thirty nine receiving a 2.1, eleven receiving a 2.2 and only one person getting a third.

In lots of ways it could be argued that what I am describing is just a sign of the times and reflects a wider pattern currently found in many teams, agencies and organisations where staff are being exhorted to ‘do more with less’.

However, the opening up of a mass market in education and the introduction of tuition fees has led to additional and competing organisational demands being placed on HEIs and academics.

“Universities are prioritising customer service and student satisfaction rather than upholding professional standards and providing a rigorous but exacting education.”

Many students, for their part, see themselves primarily as consumers rather than learners and have a profound sense of entitlement that if they have paid good money then they deserve a good degree.

The combination of these two forces – a demanding and vociferous student body who are quick to complain and litigate, and a squeamish management team who are more concerned about student numbers, generating income and ‘enhancing the student experience’ – make universities an uncomfortable environment for people like me to be working in.

Social work educators, desperately trying to raise the capacity and capability of the workforce with no support or understanding from university managers, are buckling under the pressure of maintaining ethical, practice and academic standards whilst simultaneously absorbing extra work.

Research output dwindling

It is no longer feasible – if indeed, it ever was – for social work academics to ‘do a little bit of everything’. Colleagues who have been research active in the past have seen their output dwindle; colleagues who traditionally have been more focused on teaching and supporting practice learning have seen their workloads doubled.

Partners in practice (on hourly-paid, fixed term contracts) previously contributing to the teaching programme perhaps by facilitating a seminar or two, are being asked to front up ‘open days’, take on additional marking and are given the ‘opportunity’ of delivering core units and heavy admin roles like induction.

Something has to give and, sadly in my case, I have come to the conclusion that I can no longer be part of an organisation that both ignores and forgives plagiarism, actively supports the inflation of degrees and changes their own rules and regulations to enhance the overall pass rate.

Wipe the slate clean

This summer for example, a student who fails a final year unit can effectively wipe the slate clean, re-take all their units – even the ones they have successfully passed – and start again as if for the first time. In other words, if an individual has the funds and/or is prepared to extend their student loan, the university is more than happy for them to buy an additional year of study.

I don’t think for a moment that my ‘naked resignation’ will make much of an impression on the organisation I have left behind and certainly won’t stop the students graduating who I have concerns about qualifying as social workers.

However, there is some small comfort in knowing that I am no longer contributing to the further erosion of professional and academic standards or colluding in a system that does not understand the importance of gate-keeping the profession.

I also realise that, ironically, my decision to leave is compounding the problem further…

You can join our Stand up for Social Work campaign by:

Changing your profile  picture   ……………’

ADASS: Splitting social worker education is nonsense


Original post from Community Care

‘……………By Joan Beck

Joan Beck, joint chair of the ADASS workforce network, says government should focus on resourcing social work instead of changing training

Photo: John Birdsall/Rex
Photo: John Birdsall/Rex

There is no pure children and families or adults social work.

Older people and people with disabilities live in families. They have children and grandchildren. Grandparents (and great grandparents) are increasingly the carers of younger children. Carers of people with disability and older people can be as young as four or five years old.

Children’s social workers work with adults (parents) to encourage positive change. They also work with perpetrators of abuse who are adults.

The mental health of the people involved in children’s safeguarding referrals is frequently a factor in their ability to parent/care for either the child or other loved one, as is the presence of domestic violence.

Easy access to post qualifying training

The current training of social workers provides students with a generalist base which is followed by the Assessed and Supported Year in Employment (ASYE). It is not meant to prepare students for every eventuality, any more than any of the training that happens in the NHS is able to.

Instead, social workers should have easy access to post qualifying training as do nurses (most of whom now do masters’ degrees) so they can specialise in their chosen subject.

Indeed, the approved mental health worker training and the proposed training for best interest assessors is a good model of this.  Specialisms in dementia, safeguarding and palliative care could all be treated in the same way.

Resources are needed, not more change

Failures to protect children or vulnerable people are rarely down to the action of one professional – but of the system surrounding that person.

Rather than changing social work education and training, yet again, the government should see what happens if they give social workers in both children’s and adults services the time and resources to do their job (the job they have been trained to do) properly.

This means time to build a trusting relationship, time to work for positive change in people’s lives, time to intervene appropriately and at the right moment, before the crisis occurs.

This means resources to combat loneliness and the feelings of being overwhelmed by the problems life is throwing at clients.  Resources like computer systems designed to enable the work and that social workers can see the benefit of using.

Generic skills are key

To separate the training of social workers ignores the broader aspects of safeguarding and the responsibility of everyone involved in that.

Who better than social workers to understand that the way we recruit and train staff; the way the receptionist talks to someone seeking help; the speed of the response to a broken window is all part of safeguarding.

Social work is about working in a team and understanding how to get other professions to work constructively in the best interests of their client.

Social work is about understanding cultures and demographic change and working within it.

Social work is about enabling, encouraging, coaching, walking alongside.  It’s about understanding the pressures of daily life for individuals and it’s about helping them to create positive change.

Social work is about trusting relationships and a genuine desire to help someone; it’s about caring.  It can also be about using legal powers appropriately and being aware of others responsibilities within the team.

These are all generic skills.

Flexibility

We have to be able to rely on flexibility within the workforce with social workers being able to change their initial focus depending on where their career takes them.

Work in relation to transitions and all-age disability, for example, relies on generic social workers being able to cross imaginary boundaries.

Frankly, at a time when integration between health and social care is high on the agenda it is nonsense to dis-integrate social work training.

Joan Beck is the joint chair of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) workforce network.

 More from Community Care

Dorset social care workers transferred out of council fear for their terms and conditions


Original post from Community Care

‘………….by

Municipal building in Dorset. Photo: Elliott Brown/ flickr
Municipal building in Dorset. Photo: Elliott Brown/ flickr

Putting adult social care on a more commercial basis will help to protect against redundancies and changes to terms and conditions, a council has claimed.

However, unions have questioned the move, warning terms and conditions will still be at risk if the company is unable to raise extra revenue from the private sector.

£38m trading company

Adult care services in Bournemouth, Dorset and Poole are due to be incorporated into a trading partnership on 1 July.

The £38m local authority trading company, known as Tricuro, will be able to seek business outside of the local authority from private individuals, for example, those who require re-ablement services. It follows similar arrangements undertaken in local authorities like Wokingham, North Hamptonshire and the London Borough of Barnet.

A council spokesperson said the move was the only way to give social care staff a “fighting chance” against the threats of central government cuts.

Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) regulations (TUPE) dictate terms and conditions can only be changed with the agreement of the authority.

But, Unison assistant branch secretary, Ken Attwool, said it was unclear how expected savings would be made if the company was unable to raise extra revenue in the private sector.

“The concern is they will seek savings from the staffing budget because that’s where the big numbers are. The terms and conditions are naturally going to be where they look and that’s a huge concern to us.”

Hands tied

Attwool does not believe the local authority has any bad intentions, but fears their hands will be tied once the trading company is launched and they are forced to make demonstrable savings in line with the business case laid out in setting up the trading company.

“The local authority trading company is not going to be immune from austerity cuts. The only place they will be able to make savings is the staff budget. The issue is once it is launched, if those numbers don’t happen the local authority will be forced to look at the terms and conditions because there’s nowhere else to go.”

Sickness and absence

He said he thought the authority would have to start looking at changes to terms and conditions within the first 12 months and areas such as sickness and absence allowances and pay would be the first to be cut.

Jane Portman, director for adults and children services at Bournemouth Council, said:  “Constraints placed on the public sector meant we couldn’t be as flexible, adaptable and efficient as our independent sector counterparts, or generate income above cost recovery.

“The extension of our already excellent joint working relationships to the formation of a local authority trading company for adult social care seemed a natural one, which will bring benefits not just to the local authorities, but to our service users too.”

 Related articles:

Inspiring Images of Social Care 2015: The winners


Original post from Community Care

‘………..by

The overall winner of the 2015 Inspiring Images of Social Care competition was submitted by Equal Arts, a charity delivering arts and older people’s projects in NE England
The overall winner of the 2015 Inspiring Images of Social Care competition was submitted by Equal Arts, a charity delivering arts and older people’s projects in NE England

The winners of Community Care’s third ‘Inspiring Images of Social Care’ photography competition have been decided.

The competition, which is sponsored by Caritas recruitment, recognises the dedication of professionals working across the sector and the achievements of people they support.

This year’s judging panel praised the quality of all the entries, but voted the image of a weekly transgenerational session at Cranlea Care Home in Newcastle the overall winner.

The winning pic was snapped by older people’s charity, Equal Arts, who said: “irrelevant of age, those involved are captivated by the same thing”. The organisation can now nominate a social care charity of their choice to receive a £500 donation.

The image will also feature alongside the other 11 pictures below in a 2016 charity calendar, which will be sent out to thousands of social professionals. Thanks to everyone who submitted pictures and to our judges.

 

thumbs_stargarter-ernieprioreileenfarngalo03
Resident Ernie Prior loves chatting to staff member Eileen Farngalo and sharing his experience of the war. It’s so important to have someone to talk to who really cares.
thumbs_quarriers-2014-02-19-0084
A young person supported at Quarriers Beaumonds Service, which provides short breaks for children and young people with disabilities aged 8-18.

 

Beechwood Residential Care Home, Holly Green, Upton upon Severn, Worcester Photo: Ed Maynard 07976 239803 www.edmaynard.com
Peggy and Pat could not stop laughing when we tried to photograph them having afternoon tea and this image captures that feeling of joy
Sanctuary Care, Beach Lawns Residential and Nursing Home, Weston-super-Mare, Somerset. Photo © Ed Maynard 07976 239803 www.edmaynard.com
Care assistant Chris Coombes and resident Frances Quartermaine illustrate the special bond between our residents and the people who care for them and the most important quality that we look for in all staff – kindness.
Sam and Heidi have developed a special type of relationship in a very short time. Heidi's training will help Sam as he gets older. She will learn to sense building anxiety in Sam, leading him away from situations that might be detrimental to his wellbeing
Sam and Heidi have developed a special type of relationship in a very short time. Heidi’s training will help Sam as he gets older. She will learn to sense building anxiety in Sam, leading him away from situations that might be detrimental to his wellbeing
thumbs_pick-and-mix-bluebird-in-park
A young person supported at Quarriers Beaumonds Service, which provides short breaks for children and young people with disabilities aged 8-18.
thumbs_go-provence-nick-jamie-became-friends
Nick and Jamie became friends on one of our supported holidays. Such a joy to see new friendships blossom

 

The photo shows Belle during a session where residents and artists were using their bodies to create artwork.
The photo shows Belle during a session where residents and artists were using their bodies to create artwork.
The overall winner of the 2015 Inspiring Images of Social Care competition was submitted by Equal Arts, a charity delivering arts and older people’s projects in NE England
The overall winner of the 2015 Inspiring Images of Social Care competition was submitted by Equal Arts, a charity delivering arts and older people’s projects in NE England

 

 

What the judges said:

“I voted for Sanctuary Care’s picture of Peggy and Patricia because this is such a positive image of older women enjoying life,” said Adi Cooper, adult safeguarding lead at the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services.

Sally Cairns, professional lead for social care at Berkshire NHS Trust, said of the Child’s i Foundation’s image: “The evident bond shown here is wonderful.”

Gidon O’Hana, client relationship director at Caritas, said of another winning image from the Equal Arts charity: “Belle looks so happy and engaged with her art – you are never too old to have a great time.”

Debbie Smith, CEO of Caritas, added: “It is so important to celebrate and promote the positive impact social care workers have on service users on a daily basis and what better way to do that than this amazing calendar.”

The 2015 judging panel
Debbie Smith, CEO, Caritas
Gidon Ohana, client relationship director, Caritas
David Bunce, director of adult social care, Gateshead Council
Pam McConnell, CEO, Five Rivers Fostering
Dame Lorna Boreland-Kelly, CEO, Bokell Associates
Richard Servian, children’s services commissioning manager, Dudley MBC
Peter Hay, executive director of people, Birmingham City Council
Dr Adi Cooper, adult safeguarding lead, Association of Directors of Adult Social Services
Andrew Errington, professional head of social work, Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Partnership NHS Trust
Nicola Cockshoot, senior practitioner, Northamptonshire Council
Peter Hampton, Mental Capacity Act coordinator, Staffordshire Council
Lisa Harris, principal social worker, Walsall Council
Sally Cairns, professional lead for social care, Berkshire NHS
Suzanne Smith, head of service, All Age Disability
David Soley, service manager for Care Act implementation, Warwickshire Council
Kate Wilson, client partner, TMP Worldwide
Nushra Mansuri, professional officer, BASW
More from Community Care
Related articles: