What’s it like to be a Social Worker in 2020 : A Guardian online event 9th Sept …

Dear all

Here are details for an online event that might be of interest to you:

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2020/jul/28/online-event-whats-it-like-to-be-a-social-worker-in-2020

 
This has been a year like no other for people working in UK public services.
For social workers, the coronavirus pandemic has brought previously unimaginable challenges and concerns. It has also raised the profile and public understanding of roles across social care.

 
Earlier this year, before the virus struck, Guardian Jobs undertook the latest edition of its Social Lives research into how social workers feel about their profession.
More than 2,000 people, at all stages of their careers, took part in the survey, conducted by Ipsos Mori. Participants shared their thoughts on issues including workloads, pay and the public perception of the profession.

 

Please register and get involved, we need to hear your voices …..

I hope to see you there!

We need to talk about our fragile system of social care and the lives needlessly lost……

Arguably, the free market is anything but free when we consider the excessive loss of lives in our care homes during the pandemic  …….

Three years ago a report published by Lancaster University entitled ‘A Trade in People‘ expressed the failure of the free market in providing services to those most vulnerable in society writing

‘it is clear to us that the way in which the healthcare economy has been encouraged to develop by recent governments turns people into commodities and liabilities. For local authorities and CCGs they are liabilities that they have often sought to export to other areas and for independent hospitals they are a commodity and source of millions of pounds of income and profit.’

In the intervening years nothing has changed, Covid19 has exposed yet again the nature and limits of the State, with its’ continued adherence to the free market in health and social care to develop a fragmented, unmanageable and insecure matrix of social care. The consequences of which has cost lives. Across the country, more than 20,000 residents and care workers have died with Covid-19. Yet Government boldly absolves itself of any responsibility, it’s the providers fault they claim, it was someone elses responsibility to save their lives not the Governments.

The truth is each life lost was seen by Government as a commodity, traded, faceless, of no economic value to society, abandoned by Government, living on the ‘Forgotten Frontline’. What makes it worse is this situation was predictable.

Over 5 years ago the King’s Fund  highlighted what many in the sector already knew, stating

‘Social Care is now a complex and sprawling sector of more than 12,000 independent organisations, ranging from big corporate chains to small family-run businesses, charities and social enterprises, which makes the NHS provider landscape look like a sea of organisational tranquillity. Less than 10 per cent of social care is actually provided by councils or the NHS their retreat from long term care provision is virtually complete. But unlike the NHS, when a social care provider hits the financial rocks, bankruptcy not bail-out is the more likely scenario. But a deeper problem is the failure to think through the consequences of shifting the bulk of our care provision to a private business model’.

2 years later this was supported by Andrew Dilnot , former drector of the Institute of Fiscal Studies, who suggested social care is is a classic example of a market failure where the private sector cannot do what’s needed.

In 2019 the Kings Fund again highlighted the fragility of a free market approach which continues to threaten the sustainability of  social care.

One need not dig too deep to see the flaws within the current system. Care home deaths during the pandemic, along with previous research by Lancaster University adds to a plethora of reports, all stating the same thing. This system is broken, and at it dark heart is the ideological nemesis of health and social care, neoliberalism. Derided by Nobel prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz, who described free market neo-liberalism as a stifling economic ideology which has run it course, and economist Mariana Mazzucato who when discussing the neoliberal agenda suggests “there has been kind of a strange symbiosis between mainstream economic thinking and stupid policies.

Quite!

Neoliberalism has an insidious presence in our lives, much like the air that we breathe, everywhere, yet made invisible by the taken for grantedness of its’ core premise ‘public sector bad, private sector good.  Supporters of neoliberalism maintain the market delivers benefits that could never be achieved by government, and that the more unregulated the market, the better the efficiency.

Within such an ideological framework everything we do, and every person is a potential commodity that can bought, sold and traded for profit.

However, the effect of the failure of the free market and neoliberal ideology extends beyond money, the real effect of failing markets rests upon the poorest and most marginalised in society, like those older people who have lost their lives, abandoned by government in private care homes.

The problem in government today is that many of those who govern this country are woefully out of touch and too quick to blame individuals rather than look at their own role in creating and maintaining a broken system.

Michael Sandel argues the free market is not just a mere mechanism designed to deliver goods, it also embodies certain values, and the problem is these values crowd out non market values which are really worth caring about and preserving, such as compassion.

Where values and ethics are weak in any system which seeks to support those in need, we need a strong and active State to intervene, where both are weak those most vulnerable in society will be abandoned.

It’s time to re-imagine Social Work and its’ place in refreshing lives …….

Di Galpin

The exercise of imagination is dangerous to those who profit from the way things are because it has the power to show that the way things are is not permanent, not universal, not necessary. (Le Guin, The Wave in the Mind)

For those of us who have seen lives and cities decimated by the ideological mantra of neoliberalism – ‘free markets’ and ‘privatization’ good/ public sector bad – the reality of this ideological stance is personal.

As a society we have under estimated the power of this ideology. Yet it has under pinned successive governments’ since Margaret Thatcher with a blueprint of how society should be structured and has determined what, and whom, counts in society, differentiating between the deserving and underserving. This ideology has provided governments with a framework to structure the role the state, the free markets, families and individuals in meeting need in society. It still is…

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It’s time to re-imagine Social Work and its’ place in refreshing lives …….

The exercise of imagination is dangerous to those who profit from the way things are because it has the power to show that the way things are is not permanent, not universal, not necessary. (Le Guin, The Wave in the Mind)

For those of us who have seen lives and cities decimated by the ideological mantra of neoliberalism – ‘free markets’ and ‘privatization’ good/ public sector bad – the reality of this ideological stance is personal.

As a society we have under estimated the power of this ideology. Yet it has under pinned successive governments’ since Margaret Thatcher with a blueprint of how society should be structured and has determined what, and whom, counts in society, differentiating between the deserving and underserving. This ideology has provided governments with a framework to structure the role the state, the free markets, families and individuals in meeting need in society. It still is driving government policy and tells society who will receive what, how much it will cost, who will pay for it and how it will be provided. A particularly disturbing aspect of the current ideological crisis is the displacement of responsibility for ‘austerity’ and a failing public sector onto seemingly everyone, except those who have created it; uncaring leaders, an under regulated financial sector and sheer corporate greed.

However, the exercise of neoliberal ideology is not just about political power and the domination and oppression of those most marginalized in society. It also requires the consent and compliance of wider society to operate without challenge.

For real change to occur society needs to withdraw its consent and compliance if we want to see a shift away from the current approach.

Arguably our biggest problem has been the lack of vision our politicians seem to have had over the last 40 years. Regardless of political persuasion, few have been able to conceive of a world not centred around neo-liberalism and a free market, and those who have, have been pilloried in our increasingly biased media machine. The global pandemic provides an opportunity to forge a future based on compassion not consumerism, valuing people not things and respect for ourselves, each other and our environment.

Rejecting neoliberalism will do more long term good than sticking with the status quo. Neoliberalism is an ideology of fear and insecurity that enslaves us all. Maybe the time is coming for us, the people, to be brave and imaginative and believe the unimaginable is possible for all our futures ……

It is time to reject ideologies of fear and insecurity that enslaves us all ……. we need bravery and imagination to challenge the status quo, to re-imagine the future …..

Di Galpin

The exercise of imagination is dangerous to those who profit from the way things are because it has the power to show that the way things are is not permanent, not universal, not necessary. (Le Guin, The Wave in the Mind)

For those of us who have seen lives and cities decimated by the ideological mantra of neoliberalism  –  ‘free markets’ and ‘privatization’ good/ public sector bad – the reality of this ideological stance is personal.

As a society we have under estimated the power of this ideology. Yet it has under pinned successive governments’ since Margaret Thatcher with a blueprint of how society should be structured and has determined what, and whom, counts in society, differentiating between the deserving and underserving. This ideology has provided governments with a framework to structure the role the state, the free markets, families and individuals in meeting need in society. It…

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Why the Social Work accreditation scheme is a waste of money , £8.5 million to be precise…….

Di Galpin

Community Care recently publicised that £8.5 million was given to private companies to develop the social worker accreditation scheme. This information was released by government over the christmas period. I am sure the timing of the release of this information was designed to ensure it disappears without trace so as not to attract the attention of those, such as myself, who are disillusioned by governments failure, and those who represent social work to government, to do nothing but tinker around the edges and not address the real issues which face both those who receive and deliver social work services.

I am perturbed by this news for two reasons. The proposed accreditation system is a costly red herring which detracts attention away from the real issues impacting social work practice today. Secondly the future of social work in the UK appears to be being shaped by a few powerful and well…

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Fear & insecurity enslaves many today, time to challenge the political status quo …..

Di Galpin

The exercise of imagination is dangerous to those who profit from the way things are because it has the power to show that the way things are is not permanent, not universal, not necessary. (Le Guin, The Wave in the Mind)

For those of us who have seen lives and cities decimated by the ideological mantra of neoliberalism  –  ‘free markets’ and ‘privatization’ good/ public sector bad – the reality of this ideological stance is personal.

As a society we have under estimated the power of this ideology. Yet it has under pinned successive governments’ since Margaret Thatcher with a blueprint of how society should be structured and has determined what, and whom, counts in society, differentiating between the deserving and underserving. This ideology has provided governments with a framework to structure the role the state, the free markets, families and individuals in meeting need in society. It…

View original post 316 more words

Morals & Markets:Welcome to Health and Social Care Plc,we are here to care for you, how would you like to pay?…..

Di Galpin

Evil drug companies, bailiffs in care homes and profit before people, welcome to the brave new world of Health and Social Care Plc.

As we wonder why compassion in care is so difficult to maintain…..

The Independent reports an influential group of cancer experts warn high prices charged by pharmaceutical companies for cancer drugs are effectively condemning patients to death, claiming drug companies are “profiteering” using unethical methods.

Government reform will mean multi-million pound opportunities for pharmaceutical companies in the provision of goods and services to the NHS in the UK.   Is this advisable when we consider previous reports from The Independent who highlighted the criminal wrong doing of drug companies along with The Guardian  who reported on GlaxoSmithKlines fine of $3 billion dollars, for admitting to bribing doctors to encourage the prescription of unsuitable antidepressants to children, and then reports that GSK  concealed data about the damaging side effects of the…

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IVF treatment causing a drop in the number of adoptions is not the only problem facing adoption services…

 

Increased success in IVF treatment is causing a drop in the number of adoptions, says chief of child support service

As an adoptee, and social worker, I am always interested in reports related to current trends, and today I saw the news suggesting a drop in adoptions due to IVF. Having experience of this within my family I know IVF is often a first choice for those seeking to stat a family, and one I would personally recommend over adoption.

When a close family member asked my advice on adoption, should their IVF fail, my advice was to proceed with caution. Whilst I believe adoption is  preferable to a child languishing in the care system, farmed out to a multitude of foster placements that may break down I am also aware there are major issues for adoptive families, due, I believe to the changes in reasons leading up to adoption.

In my case I was adopted because it appeared  my mother had an extra marital affair which resulted in becoming pregnant with me. She was divorced by her husband , who also gained custody of their young son, and my mother was basically chucked out of the family home. She did not have the means to care for me in terms of a home, cash or family support and her only option was adoption.

I think circumstances leading to adoption today are far more complex and involve problems such as mental health issues, substance mis-use, domestic violence and child abuse. These along with the knowledge gained from neuroscience means that some of the children who need to be adopted  have far more complex physical, emotional and psychological needs than I did, and thus require adoptive parents able to cope with whatever this might bring.

Research suggests those who do choose to adopt a child today can face multiple difficulties. A survey last year found over a quarter of adoptive families in crisis, and requiring additional support. Even with additional funding for therapeutic services the number of adoptions that break down, resulting in a child being removed from a placement, have risen in recent years, despite government attempts to tackle the issue.

Adopting a child meets many needs, that of the parent and the child, but adopting a child who has been removed from a parent does not come problem free. Whilst parenting any child is never easy, parenting an adoptee is a multi layered experience which requires the blending of love and therapeutic skills and knowledge to support recovery from childhood trauma to prepare the way for adulthood.

It’s not easy, and I admire those who decide to adopt, but many need more than my admiration, they and their children need real longterm support. Maybe if the system was able to provide more support for parents adoption might be viewed as a equally viable option to IVF?

 

 

A green paper on social care funding that spells disaster and a compassionless future for us all…….

The delayed  Green Paper on the future of social care suggests we need a scheme to pay into for our care, of course we already have this in place now where everyone is covered,  but of course govt means a private company insurance scheme, a for profit scheme. The Kings Fund suggest The Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, is attracted to the idea of an ‘opt-out’ insurance scheme for social care costs. Workers would be automatically enrolled and would then be protected against future costs of care (either all costs or, if the scheme had a lower premium, just against catastrophic costs). People could opt out but, if they did, they would need to cover their future social care costs themselves. Indeed, and how might that work Mr Hancock?

What an imaginative neoliberal idea,  after all the privatisation of social care has gone so well, what could possibly go wrong ……….

The lack of imagination shown by successive leaders in health and social care knows no bounds. Not only does it do a dis-service to wider society they have created a discourse on care wholly focused on cost rather than values such as compassion and respect. Whether it is children or adult services our leaders continue to focus on framing care as a commodity in which the balance sheet and short term savings are the priority. Yet we know the care ‘industry’ is failing us.

In children and family services Professor Eileen Munro has rightly highlighted the ‘fickleness and failings’ of the market, suggesting caution in establishing a market in child protection which could create perverse incentives for private companies. A  headline last year highlights the less savoury side of outsourcing – ‘Now troubled children are an investment opportunity: 18% return on the most disturbed and needy children in care homes is the extreme end of Britain’s outsourcing culture’ (Polly Toynbee)

Over three years ago the King’s Fund highlighted what many in the sector already know, the free market is failing, stating

‘Social Care is now a complex and sprawling sector – more than 12,000 independent organisations, ranging from big corporate chains to small family-run businesses, charities and social enterprises, which makes the NHS provider landscape look like a sea of organisational tranquillity. Less than 10 per cent of social care is actually provided by councils or the NHS – their retreat from long term care provision is virtually complete. But unlike the NHS, when a social care provider hits the financial rocks, bankruptcy not bail-out is the more likely scenario. But a deeper problem is the failure to think through the consequences of shifting the bulk of our care provision to a private business model’.

It is time to move beyond the ‘outsourcing’ of care, where arguably vulnerable children and adults are exploited for profit. Have we forgotten the experience of the vulnerable patients of Winterbourne View Hospital. A hospital set up by a Swiss equity company who primarily saw it as an investment opportunity and when the abuse of its’ patients was exposed promptly closed it down, probably moving onto the next investment opportunity provided by this government in the outsourcing of services.

Sadly government chooses to ignore this aspect of outsourcing.

The issue with ‘outsourcing’  is ideological, aligned as it is with  neoliberalism which has nothing to do with principles, values and ethics that should underpin care. At its most basic outsourcing is about profit being made from the lives of those most vulnerable in society.  A report published last year by Lancaster University entitled ‘A Trade in People’ expresses this clearly when writing

‘it is clear to us that the way in which the healthcare economy has been encouraged to develop by recent governments turns people into commodities and liabilities. For local authorities and CCGs they are liabilities that they have often sought to export to other areas and for independent hospitals they are a commodity and source of millions of pounds of income and profit.’

Nobel prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz is clear, we are now engaged in a battle which is ideological, describing free market neo-liberalism as a stifling economic ideology which has run it course.

Neoliberalism has an insidious presence in our lives, much like the air that we breathe, everywhere, yet unseen. George Monbiot provides a compelling argument against this ideology, which values the free market as the place in which citizens can exercise their democratic choices through consumer choice and the private provision of goods and services. Supporters of neoliberalism maintain “the market” delivers benefits that could never be achieved by government, and that the more unregulated the market, the better the efficiency.

Within this framework everything we do, and every person is a potential commodity that can bought, sold and traded for profit. What a world to live in.

Michael Sandel argues the free market is not just a mere mechanism designed to deliver goods, it also embodies certain values, and the problem is these values ‘crowd’ out non market values which are really worth caring about and preserving, such as compassion’.

Please leaders of this country, whatever your political persuasion, be imaginative, be brave, be bold, but most of all be compassionate.