And so…it’s time to move on….
Two years working as a local authority social worker in adult social care, and the mantra of ‘people not processes’ resonates ever more strongly inside my head. The extent to which society demands that ‘something is done’ about the poor, the excluded, the sick and the dying appears inversely proportional to the resources and time available to help people make the changes necessary. Increasingly it feels to me that the emphasis is becoming one of managing expectations through the gatekeeping of ever dwindling resources, meeting targets which are more about the need to complete tasks within a certain timescale in order to achieve an ‘outcome’ than they are about meeting a set of goals which are tailored to a particular individual set of needs.
It appears to me that the shift in emphasis from social work to care management increasingly reflects the need for resource strapped authorities to process people through systems which are designed for ‘straightforward’ cases, rather than the complexity that is humanity in all of its guises. I’m well aware of the need for public accountability, and believe wholeheartedly in the need for social care to be monitored and regulated. However, I can’t help but feel that the net result of all this is that the level of recording necessary to demonstrate that a local authority is meeting its obligations, allied to the time actually involved in doing the work will ultimately result in errors, acts of omission or simply an inability to complete the task in hand…..
Will the last person to leave please turn out the light…