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BASW is continuing to work with partners to raise your key COVID-19 concerns

Ruth Allen CEO BASW provides an update on our work to raise your issues with key partners

Over 1,200 social workers have fed in key concerns as part of the Coronavirus (Covid-19) feedback survey and your feedback continues to come in. 

Thank you to everyone who has taken part.  Your feedback is essential in giving real insight into the issues faced in practice from across the whole UK.  We are using your feedback to be the collective voice for social work, speaking with key government partners, regulators and employers for action.

Whilst we are continuing to stress the importance of all of the priority areas raised in the survey, here is an update on some key areas for action:

Safety

A significant number of social workers continue to report that they are still struggling to access hand sanitiser and personal protective equipment and have little direction or guidance on safety other than to wash hands.  

We are clear that social workers must be afforded the same commitment for safety as our health care colleagues.  Social workers must be able to work safely, to protect people that use services and play their part in alleviating mounting pressure on the NHS. 

Lack of safety provision is adding to already extreme levels of anxiety and worry for front line practitioners.  Some have reported that families are now refusing access during visits as they are worried about infection, whilst social workers with underlying health conditions are rightly worried for their own safety too. 

BASW is continuing to work with a range of partners including government, regulators and employers to bring about more resources to support the safety of the social work workforce. 

Access to the right IT

We are seeing social worker roles shifting with more use of online technology, but social workers are reporting that employers are inconsistent in how they are enabling remote working for social work.

There is some really good practice emerging too - with some having a laptop, smartphone, online training to support working from home and the use of electronic platforms as official employee forums to answer any questions. Much more needs to be done by employers to facilitate the need for more remote working.

Best practice for managing contact with people that use services 

Social workers need clear guidance for managing contact with people that use services, to support how they carry out their statutory duties to safeguard individuals and families.  This includes multidisciplinary protocols and how we can continue to promote a rights and equalities base for public services.  

BASW is working with partners to develop this guidance and more will follow this week.

Ruth Allen, CEO BASW.

The survey has so far identified the following key areas that need to be addressed:

  1. Consistent guidance on keeping workers safe in the office
  2. Hygiene equipment, protective equipment and testing
  3. Equipment for home working
  4. Guidance on safety for home visits
  5. Guidance on essential and non-essential work, and the ethics of decision making
  6. Advice on how to meet essential work flexibly, including community support
  7. Clarity about accountability if we cannot meet needs
  8. Social work advocacy about upholding human rights
  9. Resource for additional service provision
  10. Clarity about how additional social workers can enter the workforce
  11. Clarity about what this means for students’ qualification and jobs
  12. Support for independents, locums and agency staff
  13. Vulnerable young people, families and adults that may not have adequate access to food supplies,
  14. Accessibility to information and who are isolated, placed out of borough or in semi-independent living. 
  15. Asylum seeking children, young people or adults and people who do not speak or read English

Previous BASW updates

 

Further information