Skip to main content

Winterbourne View Practice Guidance

The College of Social Work (TCSW) has developed this advice to meet the commitment we took on in response to the deep public concern about what happened at Winterbourne View Hospital and to support the ‘concordat’ published by the Department of Health in December 2012:

‘TCSW, working in collaboration with BASW and other professional organisations and with service user-led groups, (will) produce key points guidance for social workers on good practice in working with people with learning disabilities who also have mental health conditions.’

We would like to thank BASW, and also UNISON, Mencap and members of the service user community for their contributions. We are committed to a collective effort to minimise the risk that the sort of events that took place at Winterbourne View will ever happen again. A range of professionals must work together to ensure this outcome and social workers are determined to play their part in ensuring that safeguarding practice is improved.

All social work is founded upon shared values, a common knowledge base and a set of generic skills. While the challenges of work in this area will sometimes be specific to the nature of the difficulties faced by the person who needs care and support – and thus will require additional specialist skills – the methods for understanding and intervening will derive from the shared base of knowledge, skills and values.

Therefore, this guidance does not attempt to reiterate the full range of good practice advice and evidence that social workers learn in their pre- and post-qualifying education; nor does it repeat useful policy guidance like No Secrets. Its purpose is to provide advice about the special factors that may need to be considered when social workers work with learning disabled people whose behaviour is challenging and distressing, and to promote high standards of professional practice.