Social work strategy

Improving and Safeguarding Social Wellbeing: A Strategy for Social Work (the Strategy) was launched in April 2012. It provides a vision and strategic direction for social work in all sectors and settings in Northern Ireland, but in particular for social work in the HSC sector where the majority of social workers are employed.

Improving and Safeguarding Social Wellbeing - A Strategy for Social Work in Northern Ireland

Ten strategic priorities to build a strong foundation for social work now and into the future are identified and these are categorised under three inter-dependent themes: strengthening the capacity of the workforce; Improving social work services; building leadership and trust in the profession.

A whole systems approach is being taken to implement the strategy involving key players in the delivery system for social workers as well as service users and carers.

The implementation of the strategy will be a driver to improve outcomes for service users and strengthen the effectiveness and reputation of social work and social workers.

Review of the roles and deployment of senior and principal social work practitioners in Northern Ireland – June 2014

The DoH commissioned SCIE to carry out a review of the roles and deployment of the senior and principal social work practitioner (SP and PP) roles in Northern Ireland.

The findings of the review indicate wide-spread support for a practitioner career pathway across the UK and would cite NI as being further ahead of other countries in the UK in this regard having introduced SPs in 1994 and PPs in 2006.  

However, the review also identifies inconsistencies in job descriptions and requirements and roles and responsibilities across bands 7 and 8a social work posts, including the SP and PP roles. The report outlines a number of next steps which will be considered by the DoH and the HSC Board and will inform decisions regarding future workforce planning and deployment of SPs and PPs in Northern Ireland to achieve greater consistency and ensure social work skills and expertise are available where they are most needed. 

Improving and Safeguarding Social Wellbeing Putting Improvement at the Heart of Social Work - Proposals Paper Stage 2 Delivery

This paper sets out the proposals for stage 2 implementation of the strategy.

Stage 2 will focus on integrating and embedding delivery into mainstream activity and processes so that work to strengthen the impact and effectiveness of social work in improving people’s social wellbeing will become self-sustaining.