The seminar included speakers such as Mark Lymbery (University of Nottingham) who introduced the discussion on personalisation. He pointed out the challenges facing social workers required to introduce this new way of funding social care for adults. There was a strong and energetic debate about how social workers can promote social work values in the face of enormous demands on their time through extra paper work involved in the new funding regime. Many social workers expressed their fears about the possible sidelining of social workers who are being replaced by (cheaper) unqualified assessors in some Local Authorities.
At the same time, Mark pointed out the opportunity for social workers to use the personalisation agenda to forge links with service users to demand adequate resources so that service users’ lives are truly enhanced by more control and improved care from care staff (whose terms and conditions are fully protected and are offered union membership!). Only then will social workers truly help empower service users.
Surinder Guru (University of Birmingham), June Sadd (Equalities Consultant and SWAN National Chair) and Weyman Bennett (Unite Against Fascism) spoke about Racism and how it can be challenged both in social work practice and in the wider community. Weyman spoke about the campaign to stop the BNP leader Nick Griffin getting elected in Barking and linked it to the need to challenge racist stereotypes in the wider society.
The next London SWAN half-day meeting on 30th October will be on the theme of ‘Resisting cuts to social work services’ (see Events Diary).