Leadership in social care by Zoe Van Zwanenberg

By Zoe Van Zwanenberg

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This is one of the conclusions of the Review of Social Work in Scotland, which also recognised a culture of blame had developed in response to systemic failures due to: heavy and inequitable caseloads; demand for services exceeding resources and the constant need to deal with crises affecting the ability to provide early intervention. This report confirmed the Users and Carers Panel perspective that ‘Leaders aren’t all at the top. People throughout the organisation should be given the Practitioner Leadership: How Do We Realise the Potential Within?

Its relevance to contemporary practice is questioned in an environment where less therapeutic work is undertaken by staff as care management has superceded direct work with individuals and families. However, there are many points in service delivery where a therapeutic approach by skilled and well-supported staff is needed and we should not forget this. Supervision needs to take account of this by being planned, regular and based on an agreement between staff member and supervisee where reflection, critical thinking and learning link the internal processes of feelings, vision and judgement to external activities such as empathy, intuition, evaluation and objectivity (Heron 1999).

33 · strive to establish and maintain the trust and confidence of service users and carers · respect the rights of service users whilst seeking to ensure that their behaviour does not harm themselves or other people · uphold public trust and confidence in social services · be accountable for the quality of their work and take responsibility for maintaining and improving their knowledge and skills. (SSSC 2002) Within the five areas covered by the codes, the level of professional standards is supported by specific guidance.

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