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NIASW Report – April 2013

NIASW was very proud to deliver our report ‘Reducing Bureaucracy in Child Care Social Work’ to Minister Edwin Poots on 28 March. In it we detailed how the profession would change the current system to tackle the excessive bureaucracy that burdens social workers with unnecessary levels of paperwork and duplication to the detriment of children and families.

We developed this paper, which makes 16 recommendations to redress the current imbalance in paper work versus client contact, following consultation with members. Our recommendations will require a change in working practices – and in mindsets – yet they are solution-focused and aim to improve the working lives of social workers by increasing the amount of time they can spend engaging in social workers and, ultimately, by improving the services children and families receive.

Visit  to view the report in full when it is formally published very shortly.

Meeting you where you are
As usual NIASW staff have been on the road a lot, with Anne McAllister having been getting to know the Glenshane Pass particularly well through a number of meetings with teams across children’s services in the Western Health and Social Care Trust. She has more meetings planned, so look for diary dates on page 34.

NSPCC report
Carolyn Ewart attended the NSPCC’s launch of its Helpline Highlight: NI a year in review: April 2011-2012. It was interesting to review the work of the helpline in Northern Ireland specifically. The report details a 58% increase in calls compared with the previous year, with neglect being the leading cause of referral. The majority of calls are from the general public, and it is noteworthy that 32% of people wait for six months before making contact. The report can be found by visiting the NSPCC website

Advocacy training for barristers
NIASW was invited to take part in a training event with the Bar Library, with two social workers volunteering to play the part of a practitioner in a freeing for adoption case. The purpose was to aid barristers in developing advocacy skills in family law cases and it proved a fascinating day, with the simulation played out as if real in the high court. Despite the initial nerves of all concerned (including the barristers) the social workers who took part all reported really enjoying the day and learning a lot from it.

The feedback form the barristers was also very positive and we hope to arrange some more joint events in the future. I would like to extend a huge thanks and congratulations to Lyanne Rankin from the Southern Health and Social Care Trust and Anita Birney from the Western Health and Social Care Trust who took part so gallantly and did a brilliant job.

Adult Services Survey
NIASW’s Adult Services Survey closed on 29 March and we have been busy analysing your responses, though can already emphasise our satisfaction with the quality of the responses. A report on the findings will be published soon. We are planning to host workshops focused on key aspects of the survey in each of the trusts and across the voluntary sector, offering a chance to develop practical solutions to the identified problems.

The first took place in the Western Health and Social Care Trust just before this issue of PSW arrived at your home, but dates for others will be confirmed soon and sent out by e-bulletin, so please make sure that we have your up-to-date contact details.

Men and suicide
Male suicide will be the theme of a public lecture on 30 May, with Professor Rory O’Connor from Stirling University addressing the event.

‘Men and Suicide – Why it is a social issue’ will be held at Queen’s University Belfast, an event that will also feature the launch of a Samaritans’ report of the same name.

This free event, open to all, is sponsored by NIASW, RCGP, RCPsy, RCN, RCOT, BPS and the Samaritans. It will be held in the David Keir Building, Stranmillis Road at 7pm.

Visit for full booking details shortly