5.5.09

The Social Work Task Force

Yes it's here again-a long hard look at social work and all that it stands for and all that it means. Ed 'Talking' Balls and Alan Duncan announced this new body in January with the intention of revitalising the profession and remaking the poor burnt-out husks employed in local authoritiy social work teams into shiny bright energised uber social workers who, with one deft tap of their harry potter wands will transform the evil cancerous weight of the hideous lumpenproletariat into well adjusted worker drones with only minimal needs for pharmacological intervention.

And they will be happy! And we know that happy workers make New New Shiny New Labour very happy indeed!

Am I dripping with that lowest form of wit dear reader? Indeed, for I hear that Deirdre the agony aunt from 'The Sun' is to take her place on that hallowed and august body. Er yes...you heard that right. Here's a good response from the Fighting Monsters Website which I include in full.

1 May 2009 (4 days ago)
Dear Deirdre

from Fighting Monsters by cb
Dear Deirdre
I suppose you are making an effort with your survey on the Sun website asking readers to tell you all that is wrong with social work.
Personally though, I find it insulting that you were given a place on the Social Work Taskforce that is to report on changes and improvements to be made to Social Work. Although apparently more front line workers are being included, unfortunately, Deirdre remains. And no, justifying her position because of a Sun petition is not a defence, it is even more of an insult. Let’s put this simply - I say this for the following reasons:-
The Sun organised a campaign which included false reporting of social work – victimised individual social workers and questioned the mental health of a social worker. Now, they are claiming ‘victory’ in successfully causing the dismissal of a social worker and social work managers. Fine with the managers, but honestly if I live and work in a country where red top journalism and over-hyped dishonest media campaigns can lead to dismissal rather than incompetence in the workplace then it isn’t doing very much for morale – don’t you think?
What experience do you have of social work? Seriously. What knowledge beyond what your colleagues report? Where has there been any will to engage - I see you pulled out of the Community Care Live event? Can’t take the heat, eh, Deirdre?
Fine, if the taskforce wants a media representative – there are many worthy journalists from Community Care or The Guardian who have consistently shown a knowledge and appreciation of the wider issues within social work but AN AGONY AUNT FROM THE SUN??? Who on earth is going to take Social Work seriously if they think that newspaper agony columns offer some kind of expertise in social work?
I don’t want to be trialled and judged by media – I want to do my job well and effectively and be supported by professional organisations and relevant government departments – not held up to some kind of media trial that you seem to be creating by surveys.
If the task force was REALLY interested in views it would have made the meetings for social workers actually more accessible rather than bunching them in with a few days notice and filling up within hours. I desperately wanted to attend one of the feed back days but my only possibility in London was about a week after I found out that they existed because the other date filled up within a day. Hardly feasible for the front-line workers who, you know, have work to do..
Well, I’ve made my views clear but lets try and get to Deirdre’s ‘survey’ and give her some of the opinions she so obviously wants from Sun readers.
For the record, Deirdre, your first question on that survey, you know where you get one answer and have to say if you have ever had contact with a social worker or you are a social worker.. you know, sweets, those two things aren’t mutually exclusive.
I am a social worker. My foster child has a social worker, myself and my partner have a supervising social worker, my father who is, himself, elderly (sorry Dad, I know you are reading this!) has a social worker. So what on earth made you think that no social worker can possibly actually USE the services of social workers for your oh-so-helpful survey.
Bleh. Oh well, I guess it makes a change not to see the pressing issues of infidelities or what to do if you’ve impregnated your next door neighbour’s daughter on your problem page (although I suspect that’s only in the online edition).
gene hunt at Flickr
Go and fill it out though, guys, and let her know exactly what we think.
Oh and Deirdre, if you do ever find your way here, I’d love to hear your defence.
Wow, I sometimes have grumps but don’t often have a full-on rant. Sometimes it feels quite good.
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