Social work could be key in helping communities to support themselves – suggests David Brindle, Social Policy Editor of The Guardian in London, in an article published to mark World Social Work Day 2013.
Reflecting debates which are going on around the world, the article focuses on how to deliver social work in an age of austerity. The article quotes Pauline Lewars, who has been a social worker for more than 30 years’. Her current job may at first sight appear to have little to do with the profession’s statutory remits, but she thinks it goes to the heart of what 21st-century social work should be about.
“Working closer with local communities would enable social workers to be more effective,” says Lewars, who is employed as a community researcher by charity Turning Point, helping develop one of its Connected Care projects in Birmingham.
The article explores the idea that ‘the retreat of public services under an unprecedented barrage of spending cuts’ is leading to ‘a growing emphasis on enabling communities to support themselves. Many see this as a key role for social work – to rediscover the community development skills that it used to deploy but largely abandoned in the 1990s.’
‘This argument is consistent with the commitments in The Global Agenda for Social Work and Social Development’, suggests Rory Truell, Secretary General of IFSW. ‘The Agenda sees people located in families, groups and communities and argues that social development – and helping people to deal with their problems – must address all elements of social life. Whilst different social workers will need to focus on different aspects of social disfunction – individual, family and community – the service as a whole must be holistic. Social work cannot avoid dealing with the person in their environment. Community engagement is central to effective social work’, Rory Truell concluded.
Read David Brindle’s article here.