The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and the Chief Social Worker (CSW) for Adults, Lyn Romeo, have published the annual CSW report. It highlights key achievements of the past year and sets out objectives for the sector as it looks ahead to 2022 to 2023.
Key achievements in the last year include making the wellbeing of staff more central, with practitioners having better access to supervision and peer support as well as continuing professional development opportunities. Staff have also been better supported to prioritise care and meet individual needs through risk assessment tools and a decision-making framework put together by principal social workers, supported by directors of adult social services.
In addition to this, the Revisiting safeguarding practice guidance has also recently been published, encouraging practitioners and those responsible for adult safeguarding to reflect on and revisit their current practice.
This year’s annual report broadly summarises the CSW-led focus for the year ahead, including:
• advising and influencing proposals for social care reform and COVID-19 recovery, including guidance for the sector and support for staff wellbeing, and further developing their digital capability
• promoting and advising on investment in research, including advising on further research for emerging issues such as the impact of and recovery from COVID-19, social work leadership and strengths-based social work practice in working with homeless people
• ensuring the voice of people with lived experiences is at the heart of practice and care, particularly those with mental health issues, and increasing the headcount of approved mental health professionals
• advising the Principal Social Workers Network on best practice and achieving good outcomes, as well as reviewing the package of support to develop a cohort of capable and confident supervisors and leaders
• supporting and strengthening personalisation and choice within care to achieve the outcomes that matter to them, and driving for the inclusion of people with lived experiences in designing new policy and guidance
• promoting improved practice on equality, diversity and inclusion, including access to continued professional development for all social care staff
Chief Social Worker for Adults Lyn Romeo said:
I am so grateful to everyone working in the social care sector, especially for their work over the past year during the pandemic.
Looking to the year ahead, we’ll look to support the social care reform, the vital recovery from the pandemic and strengthen post-qualifying standards to support the workforce. As we learn to live with COVID-19, social work must redesign and reimagine practice alongside people, their carers and the communities they live in to be ambitious in providing the best outcomes for all.
Minister for Care and Mental Health Gillian Keegan said:
The last 2 years have been a huge challenge with our brilliant social care workforce going above and beyond.
We’ve seen the workforce rise to the challenges of the pandemic with compassion and dedication to protect and promote people’s opportunities to have the best possible lives.
Thank you to all social workers in the sector for your hard and dedicated work – we have never needed your expertise and insights more than we do now.
The report includes special thanks to stakeholders including the British Association of Social Workers, Music for Dementia, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, National Institute for Health Research, Research in Practice, Skills for Care, Think Local Act Personal and the Principal Social Workers’ Network.
Particularly good work highlighted includes:
• the British Association of Social Workers’ publication of a consistent pathway of development for social workers and their employers to ensure reliable and quality care for people with learning disabilities and for social work with autistic adults their carers
• development of guidance on how people with dementia can be supported with music therapies by Music for Dementia
• Research in Practice’s continued support of the implementation of the post-qualifying standards for supervisors
• Skills for Care’s roundtable on anti-racist social work in partnership with Social Work England
• the leadership impact of Principal Social Workers in supporting social workers and practice