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.

Social Work Supervision in Northern Ireland

This is a composite report of the findings and key messages from surveys undertaken with social work supervisors and supervisees to measure the quality and prevalence of supervision across Northern Ireland. 

An excellent response to both surveys has provided a very rich source of intelligence and evidence about supervision practice which have been used to inform propositions for a revised social work supervision policy. 

Targeted consultation on these propositions was completed with senior managers from Health and Social Care Trusts and other social work organisations in early March 2020, but due to the COVID 19 crisis full consultation on the policy has been deferred. However during this period of crisis access to professional supervision is evermore essential so in keeping with decisions to relax existing standards to facilitate greater flexibility and maintain the delivery of essential services, the draft policy has been issued to Trusts and social work employers in other sectors and it can be used to inform arrangements for supervision.  

The final draft of the policy will be informed by social workers’ experiences of supervision during this time and a final consultation on the draft strategy will take place when normal business resumes.”

Covid-19 - Social Work Supervision Policy

Access to professional supervision is essential for all social workers during the COVID-19 emergency. In keeping with decisions to relax existing standards to facilitate greater flexibility and maintain the delivery of essential services, Trusts and social work employers in other sectors may use this draft supervision policy to inform alternative arrangements for supervision even though it has not been fully consulted on.  The final draft of the policy will be usefully informed by social workers’ experiences of providing supervision in different ways during this time and a final consultation on the draft strategy will take place when normal business resumes.

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.

Social Work and Social Wellbeing

‘The Purpose of Social Work - Improving and Safeguarding Social Wellbeing’ provides a clear explanation of what social work is about and the value social workers add to people’s lives and their social wellbeing.  It has been co-produced by government, NIASW, social workers and the people they work with.

It is applicable to all social workers, irrespective of where they work, who they work with or their specific job role and responsibilities. 

Social Work Beyond the Headlines

Social workers work to improve the social wellbeing of individuals, families and communities by empowering them to live full, independent lives, keep safe and well and have a sense of purpose and personal hope for their future. The accounts of social work practice in this publication illustrate how social workers have helped a wide range of people improve their social wellbeing. 

 

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