Harold Bodmer 1955 – 2016
I was shocked and deeply saddened by the news last week of the sudden death of Harold Bodmer, the ADASS president and Director of Norfolk Adults Social Services.
I felt very privileged to work with him on raising the profile of social work with adults and ensuring that excellent practice is pivotal to ensuring the people we work with have the best possible lives.
Harold spoke eloquently at the ADASS spring conference earlier this year about how his formative experiences as a social worker had shaped his career and his approach to social care, underpinned by a deep commitment to social justice and human rights.
He highlighted the importance of social work to social care and in helping people “living in complex situations to realise full lives, to fully understand interventions that are available in often controversial circumstances.”
He was a lovely, compassionate man, an exemplary public servant and the sector felt very proud to have him as a leader. He will be sorely missed and my thoughts and sympathy are with his family, friends and colleagues.
I met with the new minister, David Mowat last week and was pleased to have his commitment to continuing to support social work in social care and health. The Department published its strategic statement on social work with adults on 12 July.
This helpfully brings together all the areas that government is involved in valuing, supporting and developing social work. I really would welcome feedback on how this statement could be improved upon.
The Children and Social Work Bill has been debated in the House of Lords and lots of issues have been raised, particularly in relation to the proposals regarding the regulation of social workers.
Regulating social work
Whilst there is support for a dedicated regulator for social work, there are concerns about the profession being regulated by government, rather than an independent body. It is essential that social workers understand what is being proposed. Social work is more important than ever to government with a clear recognition of the vital role that social workers play in working with people, enabling and empowering them to live the lives they want.
The intention is to have the most effective and efficient means to secure the best possible professional standards and fully embedded career pathways that value and support best social work practice.
Significant progress has been made by Isabelle Trowler, Chief Social Worker for Children and Families, to establish post qualifying standards and practice at practitioner, supervisor and leadership level in children’s social care. I think there are benefits to be reaped across the whole profession in considering approaches that can embed this practice focus across all settings.
Social work soundings
In my travels across the country I am really seeing a shift towards best social work practice as local authorities work with the architecture of the Care Act and Mental Capacity Act. The importance of good, practice-focused supervision and social work leadership in adult social care and health is more compelling than ever
I had a very successful event recently with older people and their carers, practitioners and others to discuss improving social work practice with older people. We intend to deliver a knowledge and skills statement to support this important area together with a continuing professional development framework for social work with older people, so watch this space!
Deprivation of liberty safeguards – the latest
I know many of you will have been following the Law Commission’s work on the deprivation of liberty safeguards with interest. Its interim statement sets out its broad thinking. The Department is expecting the Law Commission to publish its final recommendations and a draft Bill by the end of the year for the Government to consider.
Farewell Jon Rouse and best wishes to you all for a good summer
I began this blog with a tribute and I shall end with one. I joined with others at the end of last week to say farewell to Jon Rouse who has left the Department of Health to take up his post as the Chief Officer for the Greater Manchester Health and Social Care partnership. I am sure Jon will embed social work as part of the offer in the developing GM arrangements to deliver better outcomes to people.
Finally, I’m pleased to be heading to Anglesey for a week’s break and I hope you all have an opportunity for a well-earned summer break as well.