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NIASW Report - May 2013

It may be hard to believe that we are half way through 2013 already but looking back it has been a really productive year so far for NIASW. We are determined to keep up that trend and make even more impact during the coming six months so watch this space.

Adult services survey: The Western Trust played host to our first workshop about the NIASW adult services survey, which proved to be a well-attended event featuring a thought-provoking discussion. We focused the session on practitioner’s ideas of how to change the current system and heard some really innovative and practical approaches to making life better.

We are holding our next workshop in the South East Health and Social Care Trust (SEHSCT) on 20 June so check out our calendar of events for details and please come along to take part in the debate.

Agency staff: NIASW was informed by a member that agency staff in the Western Health and Social Care Trust (WHSCT) are being paid £6.75 an hour, the equivalent of £13,162 a year. NIASW is working jointly with our Social Workers Union colleagues to challenge this and have already held a very positive meeting with WHSCT. As part of our wider investigation of this matter we are contacting all social work agencies and employers who use agencies to highlight the matter. We are fully committed to supporting and developing the profession and to ensuring the best possible conditions for all social work staff.

If you are aware of similar issues we want to hear from you. Please get in touch and speak with Carolyn Ewart, Anne McAllister or Susan Gordon in the strictest confidence.

‘Reducing Bureaucracy in Child Care Social Work’: As part of our ongoing discussions with policymakers about the paper NIASW submitted to Minister Edwin Poots in March, outlining proposals for improving practice, Carolyn met with Cecil Worthington, Director of Children’s Services in the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust (BHSCT), Patricia Nicholl, the new Chief Executive of the Northern Ireland Guardian Ad Litem Agency (NIGALA), and Kieran Downey, Director of Children’s Services for WHSCT.

We were pleased to receive a positive response to the recommendations contained in the paper and look forward to developing these further as part of the DHSSPS’s 10 Year Strategy for Social Work.

Probation colleagues: Carolyn and Anne met last month with Brian McCaughey and Paul Dornan from the Probation Board for Northern Ireland (PBNI) to explore ways to more effectively work together. NIASW is keen to include PBNI and NAPO in more of the events that we run and to include probation officers views and feedback in some of our future work. We are unique in the UK as the one nation where social work is the only recognised qualification within probation services.