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Why are Social Workers so vilified? - Page 4 - Carers UK Forum

Why are Social Workers so vilified?

Share information, support and advice on all aspects of caring.
132 posts
There are all these Protocols and Codes of Practice. Which should be followed

But Social Services departments never seem to adhere to them completely.
To be honest, when Mick said this quote

'Social Services Departments, like any service, have budgets within which their workers must operate and that fact means that some tough decisions have to be made at times. That may mean that your needs or those you care for cannot be met at the time because someone else, who you will know nothing about, has higher priority needs. This may seem exasperating at time, so again, please try not to reflect your anger and frustration back upon the SW. It is also that most often the SW that you meet most often is not the one making any decisions but their manager and in turn, their manager’s manager etc. and so it goes, up the line.
It’s very frustrating for the SW too!'

That's when this thread started grating on me...this site is NOT about social workers and how they 'feel'. It is for carers. Mick shouldn't be allowed to write on site about social workers in this way in order to upset many carers no doubt who have been through hell at social workers hands and I agree this thread should be removed. The longer it stays up the more it grates on me right now...and that isn't good at all...as I'm already VERY VERY angry about what is going on with my son with social care.
Yes, I agree - impossible not to! - that this site is primarily and fundamentally for family carers, but it can be useful to know what the scene is like for non-carers, and that can include, from time to time, for example, those who are themselves carees, and also professional care-workers sometimes (and sometimes a family carer can be a family carer to their relative AND a professional care-worker in their job, and that 'dual view' can be enlightening in some debates - eg, the one about when care-workers are talking to each other not their caree!).

So I would say, in principle, surely it can be helpful to see what the SWs themselves are 'bound' by, to put that in context. It isn't necessarily to agree with that (!), only that if we understand where people are coming from, it can help explain (though not necessarily justify!) what happens and why.

I could say, to, of course, that this forum should be 'essential reading' for all social workers - to see not only how they 'come across' in sadly all too many instances, but the kind of pressures that family carers are under.

In terms of improving the experience family carers/carees have of social services, it would be good to have research (good, but probably impossible without a research grant!) showing just WHERE the problems mostly are.

For example, if all SS department budgets were doubled overnight (and that of the services they gateway to, of course!), would that solve 80% of the 'unhappiness' that carers/carees experience about SW?

Or is it about attitude more/as well?

I do know, from my experience of Cancerworld, that when it comes to 'medical matters' I can feel, for example a sense of intense irritation building up in me whenever I encounter what comes across as a 'patronising' attitude - or where patients are regarded as 'fodder' for doctors, etc etc etc.

That 'we know best!' top down attitude can be very ,very grating. It puts us either in the position of 'grovelingly grateful, ignorant minions' or just maybe 'stupid'.

To me, and attiude that is a sort of 'Yes, I'm an expert in this particular thing, but I am your peer in everything else' is what I like to encounter in 'experts' and 'officials'.

No idea if this rings bells in terms of social workers!
I'm quite happy to hear the other side of the coin so to speak but as can be seen here regarding the starter of this thread it's a very condescending view. It is you the carer are the minion you must consider how we the social worker feel. In reality, Social workers DO speak down to those caring, They do blame all their upline managers. They DO work with their upline managers to refuse assistance. They DO get a fat wage from the public purse whilst delaying help and refusing unfairly help. They DO discriminate. They DO force their involvement. They Do provoke deliberately and they DO force unpaid care and use it as a means of control and the list goes on...
I've been ball and chained to them BY FORCE because my son has been FORCED on a section. I've had to 'put up with them and their attitude. They have blatantly broken the LAW and actual FOR REAL smirked in my face whilst doing it. I have had to put up with them in my home pursing their lips and looking down while they half my sons essential care making me go through hrs and hrs of explanations they have demanded regarding my son and his condition and then completely ignored ANYTHING put to them and placed their own version in place when they've never met my son before. Then, my friends, I have had to live with their decision for years taking the matter through the Ombudsman and upheld only for them to repeat and force their original decision NOT TO ALLOW THE SERVICE THE OMBUDSMAN HAS RULED ON...for many following years...
I totally understand that as it is similar to my own experience.

The Ombudsman can, at times, be too trusting of SS investigations, I believe
You should be able to complain about the officer who handled the complaint, when that person has fails to follow the rules
I think sometimes (more than sometimes??????????????) those who are employed by the public, paid by the public, and whose jobs are there to serve the public and make their lives easier (because why else would 'we the public' employ them in the first place???) do forget that.....

I don't think this is restricted to SS - it can be visible in the NHS, the police, the local councils, (MPs too?) etc etc etc.

It's a question of mutual respect.
Charm, I take your point. My problem is that I always consider that a SW might be overworked and constrained financially but I feel that by writing in this way, Mick is assuming we are all thick and insensitive and is teaching us how to behave. Of course it is frustrating for the social worker, but which of us has said it isn't? When have I poured vitriol on the SW I saw although she was not personally responsible but her superior was? I just don't like being put in my place.
It's probably a bit daunting (shocking even?) to hear how others view you. I myself have never had one of those 360 degree professional assessments, but I can't imagine they are much fun!!! (if they are honest, that is)(which I suspect a lot aren't, because it could be 'career limiting' to speak truth to power!!!!!!).

I expect a lot of the 'foot soldiers' in the SS (and other underfunded overworked public service sector jobs) are pretty cheesed off as well by it all.

And I do think, too, that SW's can be 'taken advantage of' so to speak. I wouldn't think as far as carers/carees are concerned (because these needs are genuine!), but it's clear that sometimes they have been what amounts to 'hoodwinked' by clients who put on a good spiel/sob story etc, but in fact are laughing all the way to the benefits office....?

Remember, too - and this is a senior person indeed! - that judge who let the psychopathic father have his child back again (whom the father then murdered I think??), because the chap seemed so 'sincere'. We have to remember that by definition, psychopaths are excellent actors.....it's how they manipulate the world.

Then, too, there is the question of 'available remedy'. For example again, in the children's safeguarding sector, what is riskier? Leaving a child with questionable parents, or taking it into care? Will it have a happier childhood with either option??

It's a murky, murky business, and all too often I think SW are exposed to the 'underbelly' of our society.

(I can remember being shocked, back in the seventies again, when a friend of mine who was a social worker, who, when I discussing the poor misfortunate girls who were abandoned by their boyfriends when pregnant told me roundly that 'don't be daft - they get pregnant and abandoned on purpose so they can get a council flat'....' Whether true or not, and I've no idea where the split comes between 'genuinely misfortunate' and 'dtely manipulating the system' lies, it's always a sobering lesson for the social engineers that they have to beware of the law of unintended consequences....)
Hello all. It's been interesting to read your posts in relation to your varying experiences of dealing with social workers. I spoke to colleagues in our Advice and Information team this afternoon and they said you would be very welcome to contact the Adviceline if you have any questions relating to social workers (e.g. what your rights are and how to make a complaint). To contact the Adviceline, please call 0808 8087777 or email adviceline@carersuk.org (Mon-Fri 10.00-4.00).

In the next few weeks we will also be holding an 'Ask the Expert' session with one of Carers UK's advisers and so you will also have the opportunity to ask questions and make comments on this topic then.

By all means continue to post on this thread too, but please be respectful of each other's differing views and avoid inflammatory language. Your anger in relation to your experiences of the social workers you describe is fully understandable, but please try to avoid any comments that could identify individuals and avoid generalising about social workers as a whole as there may be some members who use the forum who also work as social workers.


132 posts