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NIASW report – December 2012

We wish you all a lovely Christmas and a peaceful new year. While we look forward to the coming year and what it could bring for social workers in Northern Ireland, this is also a good opportunity to look back on the last few weeks of 2012 in particular.

NIASW in the headlines
NIASW launched its report on bureaucracy in child care on the 29 November and was delighted by the whirlwind of media interest. Anne McAllister and Carolyn Ewart appeared on the following programmes to discuss the findings: Radio U105, Cool FM, Good Morning Ulster, Radio Foyle, Talk Back, Evening Extra and BBC news TV throughout the day. Our story was also covered by UTV’s website, The Detail, TV, BBC Newsline, The Belfast Telegraph, the Irish News and the Newsletter. We even managed to get an invitation to appear on, and a comment within, Spotlight Special.
As a direct result of our campaign on your behalf, health minster Edwin Poots and chief social services officer Sean Holland were interviewed on the radio for their responses to our findings and on ways to reduce unnecessary bureaucracy for social workers. Following our launch lots of you got in touch to say you had heard the coverage and that it was welcome to hear social work being discussed in the media in such a positive way. We were pleased to be able to speak out on your behalf.
We will be meeting with the health minister on 14 January to explore our suggestions on how to make changes to the bureaucracy you have to navigate. We have also requested a formal hearing at the Health and Social Services Committee, and await a response.

First webinar
Our first webinar, focusing on the child care survey findings, went live in December and we have a whole programme of dates to follow, so look our for details and get signed up. Dr John Devaney will be doing our next Webinar on the outcome of his joint research with NSPCC into An Overview of Case Management Reviews.

Year ahead
There is still time, just about, to make your responses to the Transforming Your Care consultation. This proposal will fundamentally change how services are delivered and will have a huge impact on social work services and carers. It will also impact on service users, who we have been asked by the Northern Ireland Social Care Council participation group to refer to as ‘Experts by Experience’. This is a topic that we will undoubtedly return to over the coming months and we urge you to make your views known. NIASW will be issuing a response so if you wish to feed into that please get in touch by phone or email. Otherwise you can go online and respond directly. We will also be requesting a meeting with the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety and the Health and Social Care Board to discuss our position.
We will be launching our survey of adult services at the end of this month so get ready and let us know what is happening for you. We promise to take your issues right to the top.

World Social Work Day
NIASW will be celebrating World Social Work Day on 19 March at a venue to be confirmed, so please hold the date. We are looking forward to having Queen’s University Belfast social work staff and students share their experiences of a social work exchange programme with India. It promises to be a really exciting event so please come and help us celebrate in style. We know you are all really busy but time to stop and share exciting practice and meet like-minded professionals is really important. And it counts towards that all important CPD.