A directory featuring reviews of social workers by service users around the country has just been published. The Good Social Worker is designed to help families and children going through child protection proceedings find caring and committed social workers in their area. The guide is the first of its kind in the UK.
Child rights campaigner Michele Simmons collaborated with Researching Reform to create the new directory, which includes a section for families to search for recommended social workers by location, and a Reviews section for parents and children who want to leave positive feedback about a social worker. The Tributes section allows service users to celebrate retired or deceased social workers, and was added after past service users got in touch with Michele to offer feedback about social workers who had helped them during childhood.
Michele invited families across social media to share positive experiences they had had with social workers, in order to develop a list of professionals that other families could be signposted to, within their areas. Michele received over 200 replies. The Good Social Worker was then created to house that list and encourage other service users to share their feedback. The directory currently features around 30 social workers who have been recommended, sometimes by more than one family. Several social workers who were nominated could not be added to the list, as they had either left social work or were no longer registered with the HCPC.
In May of this year, Researching Reform spoke with Social Work England Chair, Lord Patel, and invited him to consider the use of feedback sites to help inform and improve social work around the country. Historically, feedback sites have not been embraced by the child protection sector, despite a growing demand for such forums.
Service users who would like to submit a review can use the directory’s online form, and will need to include the following information:
- Your full name and email address
- The name of the social worker/s;
- Which area/s of the UK the social worker practices in, including the name of their council;
- The time period you engaged with them, and;
- Feedback about your experience.
All reviews and comments are checked before being published. Service users who want to remain anonymous can send in feedback and also request that their names are not published on the site.
Michele Simmons hopes the new guide will incentivise social care professionals and give families a better understanding of their case workers:
“The Guide offers significant benefits for social workers, parents, children and grandparents. For Social Workers who really try their best to help families, being featured in the directory will be like a badge of honour. For parents and relatives, it will be a place where they can find help and reassurance about whether they have a good social worker on their side. I’m already confident the list will grow.”
Researching Reform’s Natasha Phillips, says the directory acts as a gateway to good practice:
“Finding exceptional professionals in any sector can be difficult, but this becomes incredibly important in a child protection context, where the decisions being made can change a child’s life forever. The directory allows parents to find those people. It also celebrates great social workers, and gives the sector the opportunity to focus on what these professionals are doing right, and to adopt those practices.”