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BASW Adult Practice, Policy and Education Group (PPEG): News Update

BASW Adult Practice, Policy and Education Group (PPEG): News update

This is the first update to be issued by the Adult PPEG since our formation in 2016 and although it will be of most interest to our members working with adults, we hope it will be of interest to all. 

The BASW Social Work with Adults PPEG embraces services to older people, physical disability and learning disability with many sub-specialisms within these categories. We are working to promote the social work role with adults while also developing wider partnerships with professionals and government agencies across the health and social care spectrum.

An example of this partnership working is the contribution that BASW is making to the Learning Disability Senate. The Senate is a multi-professional body providing a collective voice from health and social care practitioners to inform key policy makers, including NHS England and the Department of Health about the needs of children and adults with learning disabilities. A full statement of the purpose of the Senate and its projects can be accessed through the BASW website.

The Senate programme is linked to the NHS England transforming care initiative for people of all ages with learning disabilities and forms a response to the Winterbourne scandal. It includes the formation of Care and Treatment Reviews and Stopping the Over-Medication of People with Learning Disabilities (STOMPLD). 

The Senate recently received a presentation by Dame Christine Lenahan covering her review of services to children and young people with complex needs and raising concern about the lack of coordination and support provided to this group. All members of the Senate have also recently produced a briefing paper on the role of their profession for NHS England – the BASW paper was produced with the support of our developing learning disability sub-group which is composed of BASW members who are practitioners in learning disability services. 

It is clear from discussions within the Senate that social work has much to contribute to the transformation of care in learning disability, in our emphasis on individual rights, expertise in safeguarding practice, our ability to work alongside individuals and families and to plan and maintain complex packages of care. Indeed, the project to pilot the named social worker role for people with complex needs is one of the few initiatives for learning disability being undertaken and resourced by the Department of Health. The pilot was recommended by the Green Paper, ‘No Voice Unheard, No Right Ignored’ (Department of Health 2015) and is being tested over a six month period in Calderdale, Camden, Hertfordshire, Liverpool, Nottingham and Sheffield. It is to be hoped that this project will give some support to the role of individual social workers in supporting people with complex learning disabilities and for the profession as it continues to develop its vital role in supporting people with learning disabilities across the whole spectrum of need and age. The adult and children PPEGs are also working closely together to involve practitioners in children’s learning disability services.

Our work in the Learning Disability Senate is just one example of the way that the Adult PPEG is seeking to build partnerships with other professions and policy makers to improve practice in health and social care. We also have initiatives focusing on the Care Act, MCA DoLS, integration and most recently a charter on services to adults of working age with disabilities. We are starting to lead a multi-agency group on the development of a capabilities statement and professional development pathway for social workers in England working with older people. This is a critical area for many practitioners as the crisis in the NHS increases the pressure increases on services for older people.

As with all PPEGS, we will be further developing a steering group of individuals, committed to active development of all these areas, linked to a wider network of contributing members. We will always be interested in hearing from members working with adults, as the more people who engage the better. We plan to have a specific section of the BASW website for you to refer to, but in the meantime please contact Joe Godden for more information about how to get involved or to share your views  on social work with adults.

'As Chair of the PPEG I would like to wish all readers a Happy New Year and look forward to having contact from more of you during 2017.' Chair, Michael Chapman