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Guides on ethics, risk assessments and virtual meetings

Coming together with the PSW Networks to provide leadership and guidance for social workers during COVID-19

Guides on ethics, risk assessments and virtual meetings

5/7/2020 1:30:00 PM

The outbreak of COVID-19 has become a crisis that we are yet to understand to its fullest extent. The spread of the virus has brought with it rapid change, challenge and uncertainty for most. It has also had a seismic impact on social work.

For professionals dedicated to people and relationships, COVID-19 challenges the way social workers provide vital support, in many cases to some of the most vulnerable people in society.

Social workers are considering entirely new dilemmas, balancing the importance of social distancing measures, with the very real need to reach out to people, to visit at-risk children, adults and families, and protect themselves and their own families.

We have seen incredible resourcefulness across the profession and the commitment to ethical practice while exploring new and creative ways of working is a source of pride for us all.

We recognise these are difficult and confusing times for social workers. This isn’t helped by the volume of guidance material that emerges in a crisis and we know it can feel overwhelming. As sector leaders, we’ve decided to come together.

We want to bring together the perspective of practice leaders and the regulator so that social workers feel supported in considering and making changes to their practice.

We’ve established joint-working groups to discuss the areas of practice most impacted by the spread of COVID-19. The groups have seen incredible uptake from PSWs, practitioners and their teams to inform and advise this work.

From our meetings to date we’ve explored the ethics of different ways of working and shared real innovation in practice. We look forward to publishing guidance that reflects the depth of expertise in these conversations and the practical measures that some have taken to continue to support to people.

Some areas of guidance will bring us all together. Wellbeing, mental health, transitions and student placements and education, are good examples. But, we will also focus in on specific areas of children and families or adults social work where appropriate to offer the most useful guidance to practitioners. Importantly, we will consider this in consultation with each and in conversation with our working groups, who are reflecting back to us the challenges and dilemmas from their teams at the coalface across the country.

We have so far developed the following guides that are being released together with this announcement:


Sarah Blackmore, Executive Director of Strategy, Policy and Engagement, Social Work England

Claudia Megele, Chair of the Principal Children and Families Social Worker Network

Beverley Latania, Co-Chair of the Adults PSW Network

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