ELECTION 2016: Social Work Network Demands Urgent ‘Reform Programme’


  • All social work and probation vacancies will be filled;
  • The salaries of newly qualified social workers will be those negotiated with the trade unions. No moves will be made to cut the salaries of new workers, neither should social work students be used to ‘fill the gaps’, acting as temporary substitutes for unfilled, paid posts. Jobsbridge and similar ‘workfare’ schemes will be immediately terminated;
  • In order to prevent the continuing displacement and impoverishment of children and their families, the government will begin an immediate programme of building 40,000 social houses over its lifetime in government, as part of an overall strategy to deal with homelessness and the housing crisis.
  • Quality public sector home-care services will be drastically increased to enable more elderly people to remain at home, and adequate structures will be put in place to ensure the voices of older people are central to the provision of care packages.
  • The full implementation of ‘Vision for Change’ will occur with particular attention being given to the reform of manifestly inadequate addiction services, with specific emphasis on embedding interagency working with people present with multiple and complex needs;
  • A nationwide 24-hour social work service, staffed by a dedicated team of practitioners, will be established. This service will not be founded on social workers being compelled to fulfil a role in this service on a rota basis;
  • Travellers will be recognised as a ‘minority ethnic’ population within the state;
  • All prisoners will be guaranteed timely access to a social worker;
  • In line with the state’s human rights obligations, emergency measures will be put in place to address the conditions, amounting to institutionalised abuse, encountered by children and their families within the ‘direct provision’ system. Children will be safeguarded and protected and their rights, identified in the UN Convention, will be respected. The systemic exclusion of asylum seekers from daily life and civil society will cease.
  • The Habitual Resident Condition which is punitive and has prompted hardship and distress will be scrapped;
  • Immediate action will be taken to meaningfully address the global refugee crisis;
  • Ratification of the UN Declaration on the Rights for People with disabilities will occur.

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We want to develop a network of service users, practicitioners, academics and students to support radical and progressive social work. We need a social work that is ready to challenge oppressive practice, that means working collectively across the country and internationally to advance Social Work.