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Number of items: 4.

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Self-directed support and personal budgets - panacea or problem?

Paper presented at 2010 JSWEC Conference. The present government aims to ensure that people who use social services are given personal/individual budgets with which they can directly purchase the care and support they need. Personal budgets are seen as the means by which services will be ‘personalised’ and designed to fit around the person who uses them, rather than the other way around. Increasingly, this is becoming the ‘default’ model as local authority Performance Indicators encourage councils with social services responsibilities to offer personal budgets to service users, and ‘traditional’ forms of service provision are discouraged. However, the evidence base to support the introduction of personal/individual budgets currently remains weak, with only a handful of published studies, which are of variable quality. Our paper reports on a large, quantitative study, using a quasi-experimental design, of the impact of self-directed support and personal budgets on people who use social services. It was carried out in an English shire county in 2008-09. Amongst other findings, the study found evidence of positive outcomes for people from most care groups, on a range of measures. However, like the Individual Budgets Support Evaluation Network (IBSEN) report (Glendinning et al 2008) the study found no evidence of benefit for older people who were offered budgets. Evidence from both studies raises questions about the appropriateness of personal budgets for some people as a means of achieving personalisation. We then focus attention on the socio-political ‘lineage’ of personal/individual budgets, considering more fully what the drive to personalisation tells us about the nature of citizenship and governance contemporaneously. We argue that personal budgets may offer a false prospectus to many people, not least firstly, by promoting market rights but actually diminishing social rights and, secondly, by proffering participatory forms of governance as a replacement for traditional representative democratic structures.

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‘Feeling safe in an insecure world: Social work education after Baby Peter’

Paper presented at 2010 JSWEC Conference. Four decades of public inquiries into child deaths and mental health tragedies have had a significant impact on public perceptions of social work. More recently, the death of Baby Peter led to intense media criticism of social workers, leading to the Sun newspaper petition to sack all of the social workers involved, which was signed by 1.2 million people. The Social Work Task Force, formed in response to the negative media coverage, has recommended reforms in social work education and the formation of a Royal College of Social Work that will act as the public face of the profession. This paper will present the findings of a mixed methods research study that investigated the impact of negative media coverage on student social workers. 68 students participated in three focus groups that used interactive software to collect survey-style quantitative data combined with focus group discussions. Over half (54%) of students reported that negative media coverage had a strong or mild negative effect and almost half (47%) had questioned their future career as a result of the media criticism. 86% believed that media criticism increased the likelihood of defensive practice and 83% felt the possibility of negative media coverage would influence their approach to a child protection referral. All of the effects identified increased as students progressed through their studies, with significantly higher rates for final year students. However, many articulated belief systems that provided a defensive function and acted as ‘discourses of resistance’. There was clearly an important topic of students, with 77% supporting this to be included in the social work curriculum. The implications for empowering student social workers will be discussed and the challenges currently facing the social work profession will be explored.

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Questioning methodology in social work education research

Paper presented at 2010 JSWEC Conference. This paper contrasts the virtues and vices of the positivist and constructivist paradigms in social work education research and highlights the dearth of studies rooted in a critical paradigm. Questions will be raised in respect of the compatibility of different paradigms with social work values and the possibility of combining approaches in future research into social work education. The main example of research rooted in a positivist paradigm is the study published by the evaluation of the social work degree in England team in 2008. This generated standardised data from students' responses to survey questionnaires and hypothetical vignettes along with statistical profiles of students and their progression rates and statistical correlations between the variables deemed to be influential in teaching and learning. Such robust objective data may nevertheless have a limited use-value for educators and students at the grassroots. The presenter has recently completed a study of social work education which is due to be published as a textbook for students. It was an ethnographic study drawing upon a participatory approach to encourage students to share their experiences in interviews or focus groups and to submit their practice portfolios for a research reading, and it was rooted in a constructivist paradigm. This generated a wealth of real-life case studies of students' experiences of teaching and learning in university and community settings including their use of critical reflection, theory and research and the dilemmas thrown up by working with service users and other professionals. Nevertheless, I was confronted with a number of ethical and political predicaments during the conduct of the research, and the use of real-life case studies may itself prove to be controversial in due course. Evaluation of the Social Work Degree in England Team (2008) Evaluation of the New Social Work Degree Qualification in England Volume 1 Findings and Volume 2 Technical Appenix, available at the SCIE website www.scie-socialcareonline.org.uk Humphrey, C. Becoming a Social Worker. A Guide for Students. London: Sage (forthcoming, October 2010

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Levels in Practice: Benchmarking the Standards in Social Work Education against the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework

Paper Presented at 2010 JSWEC Conference. One of the specific work areas for the SSSC is to drive and support the implementation of the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF) as a key element of the skills strategy and to increase potential benefits to the learning and development of the social services workforce. At degree level in terms of shaping the learning and teaching experience the drivers have been: - The report prepared for the SSSC by Bellevue Consultancy and Critical thinking which suggested that each course should be able to show, and should take steps to explain as appropriate, its levels of practice within the SCQF - The IRISS report, 'New Degree New Standards' which explores methodologies to be more explicit about what and when students learn in their degree programmes. The SSSC has commissioned materials and pilot work to benchmark the Standards in Social Work Education against the SCQF level descriptors. Project Definition: - To write illustrations of practice for selected outcomes (Learning Foci) of the social work degree; to write these descriptors at SCQF Levels 9 and 10; to do this within the context of case studies - To consult with stakeholders about how this work can potentially be used - To undertake a pilot use of the illustrations - To review the practice illustrations in light of the pilot. Outcomes of the work will be - The development of a language through which to assess applied knowledge in practice at different SCQF levels - Materials to make this possible - The testing of language and materials in practice - Feedback from stakeholders about the usefulness of the approach. The workshop will outline the process,content and outcome of this work and offer considerations about how to take it forward with stakeholders. It will include small group consideration of the materials, particularly the case studies and feedback about their usefulness. References SSSC/Bellevue Consultancy and Critical thinking www.sssc.uk.com/nr/rdonlyres/245afd96-2bbd-437c-af02-dac55423ab44/0/qacommissionfinalreport.pdf IRISS 'New Degree New Standards' www.iriss.org.uk/publications

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This list was generated on Sat Jul 13 14:36:41 2024 UTC.