The Guardian newspaper, based in London UK, was the international media partner for the Stockholm 2012 conference. Clare Horton and Jessica Fuhl, journalists who specialise in social work and social policy, attended the conference and provided a stream of articles and blogs, including interviews with participants. A Stockholm 2012 website can be found on The Guardian website
A special supplement on the Stockholm 2012 joint world conference on social work and social development was published with the printed newspaper on Wednesday 25th June, available in the UK. The coverage includes quotes from the IFSW President as well as references to the International Federation of Social Workers and to The Global Agenda for Social Work and Social Development.
The Guardian Social Care Network website has published online versions of the articles in the supplement, which can be read all around the world.
Clare Horton (Editor of SocietyGuardian.co.uk) reflects on the main themes to emerge from the conference. She commented “what shone through from the conference was the common ground of social work around the world”. Gary Bailey, President of the International Federation of Social Workers, said that social work improved the lives of children and families, and professionals had “long been society’s safety net”. “Current economic, environmental, political and social crises meant demand for social workers’ support would only increase”, he added, whilst “squeezed budgets and insufficient training places raised the prospect that demand might not be met”.
Clare Horton observed that “attendees were encouraged to find their campaigning voice, become champions of social justice and speak out on behalf of the people they work with”.
David Brindle (the Guardian’s public services editor) comments that “the world conference gave the profession a chance to rediscover its voice”. “Social work in the UK stands at a crossroads” he writes. “It can stride forward and reclaim the sense of mission critics feel it has lost, or it can face being increasingly marginalised in the fast-changing public services landscape”.
“The Joint World Conference on Social Work and Social Development, held earlier this month in Stockholm, was a timely opportunity for British delegates to remind themselves of what social work is fundamentally about, and what it can offer developed and developing nations.” ….. David Brindle comments that the experience of UK social workers is not unique: the conference “demonstrated that social workers in other developed countries are equally seeking to rediscover their effectiveness as advocates for the voiceless”.
Other material on the website includes an article by Malcolm Payne on why social work is necessary; he argues that “social work uniquely sets out to improve relationships between people”. Tom Shakespeare, from the World Health Organisation, who was a plenary speaker, writes about disability and service user involvement. An article about how social work is moving online suggests that, as new technology offers innovative ways of delivering training and services, there is a need for careful analysis of the challenges and risks. There are also articles written before the conference by Rory Truell and David N Jones.
The daily blogs from the journalists at the conference can still be read here..
IFSW welcomed the participation of The Guardian. This provided a new level of reporting for the global conference and enabled social workers around the world to follow what was happening minute by minute. Dr Rory Truell, IFSW Secretary General, commented “we hope to build on this partnership for future conferences and activities”.