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Introduction

This tool has been designed to help you use the Capabilities Statement for adults with learning disabilities in order to critically reflect upon your practice.

It can be used in one-to-one supervision, with a peer or as part of group supervision and in a social care or multi-professional team or setting.

Evidence of Continuous Professional Development

Engaging with this tool and using the questions to capture your reflections can be used to provide evidence in relation to Standards 4.1- 4.8  Maintaining my Continuous Professional Development of the regulatory Professional standards for social workers set by Social Work England

How to use the tool

Choose one or more of the key messages from the Capabilities Statement for social work with adults with learning disabilities.

These are set out below using the three super-domains from the Professional Capabilities Framework as headings: Purpose, Practice, Impact.

Consider the points and questions below each key message to explore and critically reflect on your practice in the context of the Capabilities Statement.

The reflective tool 

Purpose

Purpose: This section of the Professional Capabilities Framework relates to why we do what we do as social workers, our values and ethics and how we approach our work. It includes the domains: 2 – Values and Ethics; 3 – Diversity and Equality; 4 – Rights, Justice and Economic Wellbeing.

A key message from the Capabilities Statement for social work with adults with learning disabilities describes purpose in the following way:

Good social work practice occurs when social workers skilfully combine personal values, behaviour, knowledge, and skills to help people achieve the outcomes that mean the most to them.

Points and questions to aid critical reflection:

  • Think of a situation from your practice when you feel you have demonstrated good social work practice as described in the key message
  • Describe the situation to your supervisor or peers
  • Reflect on what you did, your use of self and the approach (s) you took, theories and/or methods you used
  • Explore your feelings in relation to the situation
  • Consider your own values and the impact they had
  • What went well from your perspective?
  • What was the feedback from the person and/or their family?
  • What were the views of other professionals/organisations?
  • What were the challenges?
  • What have you learnt, with particular reference to structural inequality and discrimination issues?
  • How will this influence your practice in the future?

Practice

Practice: The practice section describes the knowledge, skills and critical reflection capabilities specific to social work practice with adults with learning disabilities.

It includes the PCF domains: 5 – Knowledge; 6 – Critical Reflection and Analysis; 7 – Skills and Interventions.

This section of the Capabilities Statement explains the theoretical, empirical practice knowledge and the skills required to provide to have a positive impact in the lives of people with lived experience. This part of the Capabilities Statement particularly relates to the Knowledge and Skills Statement for Social Workers in Adult Services.

A key message from the Capabilities Statement for social work with adults with learning disabilities describes practice in the following way:

‘(It’s about) relationship based social work practice. Social work with people with a learning disability differs from generic adult social work… With people with learning disabilities the social worker gets much more involved in the person's life, dealing with the small stuff, as well as the main issues/concerns/ area of need… mental capacity is considered on a day by day (minute by minute) basis… the social worker is the co-ordinator, working in partnership with all other professionals, families, providers and most importantly the person themselves.’ 

Points and questions to aid critical reflection:

  • Think of a situation from your practice working with a person with a learning disability that reflects the social work role as described above
  • Describe the situation to your supervisor or peers
  • Reflect on what you did, your use of self and the approach (s) you took, theories and/or methods you used
  • Explore your feelings in relation to the situation
  • Consider your own values and the impact they had
  • What went well from your perspective?
  • What was the feedback from the person and/or their family?
  • What were the views of other professionals/organisations?
  • What were the challenges?
  • What have you learnt, with particular reference to structural inequality and discrimination issues?
  • How will this influence your practice in the future?

Impact

Impact: in the Professional Capabilities Framework is about ‘How we make a difference and how we know we make a difference. Our ability to bring about change through our practice, through our leadership, through understanding our context and through our overall professionalism.’ It includes Domains 1 – Professionalism; 8 – Contexts and Organisations; 9 – Professional Leadership

Key messages from the Capabilities Statement for social work with adults with learning disabilities describes impact in the following way:

  • People with lived experience involved in co-producing the Capabilities Statement said social workers should demonstrate their professionalism by being:
  • Accountable: ‘[the] social worker shouldn’t be scared to ask for guidance and support. I think that is [an] important [value]’.
  • Reflective: ‘Knowing when to say sorry and learning from your mistakes’
  • Motivated to care for them: ‘[to] navigate difficult paths [in my life]’ and ‘make time for me.’

Points and Questions to aid critical reflection:

  • Think of a situation (s) from your practice working with a person with a learning disability when you have demonstrated the above
  • Describe the situation to your supervisor or peers
  • Reflect on what you did, your use of self and the approach (s) you took, theories and/or methods you used
  • Explore your feelings in relation to the situation
  • Consider your own values and the impact they had
  • What went well from your perspective?
  • What was the feedback from the person and/or their family?
  • What were the views of other professionals/organisations?
  • What were the challenges?
  • What have you learnt, with particular reference to structural inequality and discrimination issues?
  • How will this influence your practice in the future?