This blog / question / reflection is one I have been pondering for a while now. Last night whilst listening to a few Specials and Skints tracks on the train home I thought it was time I put it out there (the music may or may not have informed my resolve).
I am incredibly lucky to work in a profession that, at it’s core, values everybody no matter how society perceives them. A profession that seeks to ensure social justice, equality and human rights are accessible to all and where they are absent does something about it.
I am increasingly asking myself whether we apply the same values to our own profession and social care as a whole. Social work at a front line operational level is one of the most vibrant and diverse professions I know. reflective of our communities, neighbourhoods and cultures but does this diversity play out throughout our sector and more interestingly our hierarchies.
I increasingly find myself asking this question as I attend conferences and national network meetings. Looking around the rooms and audiences I don’t see the same diversity that I do in our teams and operational management. This includes the very networks that Social Workers and Principal Social Workers are shaping and forming as we take our profession on new modernising journeys. The PSW network albeit in its infancy feels like it also conforms to this potential lack of difference.
Trips to NCAS, academic events, as a speaker at conferences across the country or sitting on various committees does not tend to make me reconsider whether this question needs to be asked. It generally reinforces it. Certainly my presence does not change or break the homogenous mould.
So as a profession and sector who would be the first to challenge lack of opportunity, glass ceilings and people’s rights, have we stopped looking at ourselves. Is it not time that we had an honest discussion about whether this is a question we must consider and how we do that in the most productive way possible. Most importantly if it is a reality what are we going to do about it?