Social work is a profession established to promote and secure the wellbeing of families, children, adults and the surrounding communities. Social work in Wales is regulated under the guidance and legislation of the Care council for Wales. This guidance is governed by a code of practice which all Social workers are to adhere too. Anyone choosing to use the title 'social worker' is required to be registered with the care council for Wales, or any other council for other countries within the UK. The Care council for Wales states that the purpose of the code is to 'set out the conduct that is expected of social care workers and to inform service users and the public about the standards of conduct they can expect'. (WAG, 2012:5) These guidelines allow all social workers to have a clear understanding of their role and what is expected of them. The aim of this assignment is to discuss the role and task of the Social worker, effectively showing an understanding of ethical issues, and anti-oppressive practice within Welsh context.
The role of the Social worker is often formed by the needs of the individual service user or family. Social workers play a leading role in providing safety and protection to adults and children. However the role will at times have to be adapted in order to fully meet the individual service users' needs. Some roles carried out by the Social worker could possibly include being a counsellor, advocate, caseworker, manager of care, a person of social control and being able to work effectively as part of a mulit-disciplinary team. Each of these roles will require a number of different skills, Such as being an effective communicator, having the ability to recognise and regard diversity, and make effective risk assessments. The social worker needs to be able to respect the service user irrespective of their reasons for necessitating a social worker. Parallel with these the Social worker will need to have values and admiration for ethnicity, gender, class, culture, religion, age, sexuality or ability. In doing all of these social workers have a number of Acts and Laws in which they must obey, such as All Wales Framework for the Assessment of Children in need etc. . The Laws are regulations which enable the social worker to carry out their role and tasks in a positive way allowing for empowerment, change, and anti-oppressive practice and to tackle matters of oppression. The policies and legislation provide mandate for practice. Alongside the role of the social worker is the task of the social worker. The role of the social worker may require a wide variety, in terms of the range of tasks needing to be carried out. Some of these tasks could include supporting the parents/s to develop and enhance parenting skills, supporting the service user to become financially dependent- in order for them to reduce the possible risks of falling into poverty, and encouraging and supporting the service user back to work and employment. This is just to name a few of many tasks carried out within the role of a social worker.
Social workers are to practice anti-oppressive practice whilst working with service users, this is intended to enable them to resolve any problems and overcome barriers being faced by the service user. Dominelli. (2002) states that 'Anti-oppressive practice seeks to eliminate oppression within professional practice as well as contribute to its eradication within the broader society' (:83) Dominelli (2002) then goes on to suggest that ' being clear about their principles, value base and ethical orientation will help individual practitioners in the decision-making process where and how they will direct their work' (:84) In keeping with clear principles and ethical issues and taking into account the code of ethics as set by BASW which states that, (2012) 'Respect for human dignity, and for individual and cultural diversity Value for every human being, their beliefs, goals, preferences and needs'. One of the principles that is important in respecting a service users' needs and rights is that social workers within Wales implement the use of the 'Welsh Language Act 1993' this is one example of where laws between England and Wales are noticeably different in social work. In coinciding with this Act, the Welsh Language is proposed to have equal status. Whilst differentiating ethical issues, it became apparent that a service user has a right to decide what language their social worker uses, therefore, as stated by Davies (1994) 'Principles for anti-oppressive practice in Wales:
1. A service user has the right to choose which language to use with a worker;
2. Language is more than a means of communication: it is an essential part of a
3. People are able to express themselves more effectively and comfortably in their
language of choice;
4. Good practice means offering users real language choice;
5. A comprehensive and quality service in Wales means a bilingual service'. (:60)
Refusing this service can be recognised as a way of oppressing an individual.
This assignment has discussed and researched some of the areas of social work, such as the role and task of the social worker. It became apparent that the role of the social worker and the area in which they practice will provide the outline of the tasks they will be required to carry out. There is a great importance of values, and the need to adhere the policies and regulations is clearly paramount in all areas and practice of social work. The assignment has then gone on to identify the difference in regulations and policies within Wales and England, and the importance of anti-oppressive practice, Likewise recognising the rights of the service user, and the need to respect these rights. Finally the assignment went onto show an understanding of the need to be aware of ethical practice.