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A Blueprint for Change: For Adult Services Social Work in Northern Ireland

This report lays out a blueprint for the future of social work in adult services in Northern Ireland and outlines the key challenges identified by social work staff working in this arena. These can be summarised as:

- Maintaining and promoting the social work role
“It feels like the role of social work is not valued, as we are perceived as ‘form fillers’, almost an intermediary way for service users to get services”
- Excessive bureaucracy
“Paperwork and duplication of assessment records is totally unmanageable”
- Lack of resources & resource led services
“You are basically begging for resources and it is not leads-led but resource led” n Workload
“Not enough social workers to carry out the number of assessments coming in, people left at risk”

Importantly, this report offers real world solutions to the challenges social workers face every day. It was clear through the survey and subsequent consultation meetings with adult services social workers that they want to spend more time undertaking direct face-to-face therapeutic interventions with service users and those who care for them.

In order for that to happen the challenges identified above will need to be alleviated or resolved. This report is the profession’s answer to the problems identified.

Although it has been compiled based on the experiences of social workers in Northern Ireland, as part of a
UK organisation NIASW is aware that the issues raised are common throughout the United Kingdom.