Monthly Archives: August 2013

Working Together isn’t Passing the Buck

If we are going to appropriately and efficient work with other professionals, we have to establish ourselves as a profession of experts. We have to genuinely work together with other professionals to achieve the best possible outcomes for clients. If we become experts, we can educate others on what we do and how we do it. We can all take responsibility for different aspects of working with clients from our specialist areas. Working together does not mean we pass the buck. It means we expect other professionals to be able to do what their roles dictate and to a high standard.

Social Workers are experts.

By being experts on their cases, Social Workers show their professionalism, their abilities and prove that they are experts. In so doing, we can:

  • promote the profession
  • become stronger professionals
  • showcase our engagement skills
  • strengthen our relationships with our clients
  • help lessen the need for so much oversight

How do you become an expert?

  • know your cases; know why they are known to your service; know what their needs are and the work you are doing to help them; know the plan for your client
  • be able to talk about the facts of your case confidently
  • be able to talk about your interventions confidently
  • don’t be afraid to say you don’t know but make sure you find out
  • stay involved with your clients by doing some non-agenda visits
  • become invested in their success
  • genuinely engage with your clients
  • plan for what the client wants while addressing local authority concerns
  • update chronologies
  • keep running case summaries
  • go in with a fresh outlook (know the history but help your client make a new start)
  • suspend preconceived notions but have a couple of theories
  • be open to being proven wrong


Posted by on August 8, 2013 in Social Work Practice


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Productive Moaning: Be an Asset to Your Team

When I was a Social Worker, I used to hate going to meetings and listening to others moan complain about everything and expecting everyone else to fix them. They didn’t come with any ideas, or thoughts on how to move things forward, just complaints. They were never the Social Workers that saw positives in anything, just problems.

There is a difference between being someone who can identify the gaps and make productive suggestions as to how to close them and being someone who just complains about absolutely everything with no view of how things can be better. You are not seen as a productive member of a team if all you see are problems. No one may say anything to you, but you will not be seen as someone who is a strong practitioner. Being a Social Work is about being a credit to yourself first and foremost, to your profession and to those who employ you. You are after all a representative of your organization. If you are someone who has more complaints than ideas, someone who complains about everything, you will not be seen as a productive staff member. Organizations will only keep people on who will be a positive addition to staff.

Being someone who can identify a need for change not only establishes you as someone who is a committed and consummate professional, but it also shows your decision-makingĀ and critical thinking skills. It shows you’re a thoughtful, progressive and responsible practitioner. It makes you a valuable staff member.

A key to being a good Social Worker is critical and creative thinking. It’s about finding ways to do your job that do not put a strain on resources but still helps your client. It’s about being able to appropriately challenge the system when extra resources are needed that may be outside of what is usually used for the sake of your client. It’s about empowering your clients to make changes for themselves. It’s about learning how to do all these things and in so doing you learn how to make decisions about what happens for your clients and about the service you are able to provide for them.

If you learn to think critically and creatively about the problem which you encounter when working with your clients, then you can also make the best use of supervision. You can go into supervision with ideas as to how to help your clients and get management approval because you have made a case for your decision. This will be looked upon favorably.

One of the greatest pieces of advice I would be able to give anyone is: Be the kind of practitioner you would go to for advice.

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Posted by on August 1, 2013 in Social Work Practice


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