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The Job Role Of A Social Worker

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Social Work
Wordcount: 5410 words Published: 20th Apr 2017

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A social worker’s role is to provide support for people who have been socially excluded or are experiencing crisis. They maintain professional relationships with service users by acting as guides or critical friends. There job includes working with people as well as working closely with other health and social care staff, such as nurses when a child has been in hospital.

Social workers job includes working in a range of settings with relevant legal laws and procedures, supporting individuals, families and groups within the community. The different settings they might work in may include client’s home, schools, hospitals and other public sectors and voluntary organisations.

There job also includes working with young people and their families, work with young offenders, people with mental health conditions, school non-attendees, drug and alcohol abusers, people with learning and physical disabilities and also the elderly. The Government legislation focus’ on the combination of health and social work services, which means that social workers often work in multidisciplinary teams.

Duty of a Social Worker

The duty of a social worker is to ensure that all families are together and are in the best relationship possible, they also ensure that all children are treated well, and if not they try their best to find a home for children. They also have the duty of keeping children safe from harm that has previously been attacked. There duty is to provide guidance and support for all users of the service and helping the users to gain confidence and support in them.

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Day to Day Activities

The day to day activities of a social worker includes carrying out interviews with service users and their families to access and review their situation. They also offer information and counselling support for the clients and their families, they also recommend and sometimes make decisions about the best course of action for the client. Social workers also make referrals for their clients for example referral to rehab if they have drug issues. They also maintain records and prepare reports for legal actions, by for example giving evidence to court and participating in meetings to provide the best service possible.

Skills and Characteristics

Social workers need to have certain skills and characteristics in order to full fill their duty. Having the qualities of a social worker enables them to gain job satisfaction. The skills, characteristics and qualities that a social worker needs to have is to be good at problem solving, this is because there are many situations that will occur which need good problem solving. They also need to have the skills of being a positive person, being committed to their job, being socially competent, good time management and good communication. Being able to negotiate is a vital skill which is needed to have the skills and characteristics of a social worker and being able to work in a team and co-operating when necessary.

Social workers also need knowledge and understanding of legislations and legal procedure, but if not then this can be known whilst in training or in education.


Social workers have variety of different responsibilities that they need to carry out professionally. They work with different aged clients and therefore their responsibilities differ from age groups. However the main responsibilities that they need to carry out are supporting clients, guiding them, advising them and helping people accept that some situations cannot be changed. They need to ensure that they maintain confidentiality about all clients and do not share any information without the permission of clients or they are able to share information with who they think it’s important to see.

Social workers are able to work either private or public sectors. However are commonly employed in the public sector by local authorities. This is because there is always a need for social workers as there are not many left The Independent [2001] states that children are in danger because of the lack of social workers.

Social workers are funded by the government through the local authorities. This is because they work in different locations such as, social services, hospitals, homes etc and therefore these departments have the major component of British local government expenditure.


Teamwork is very important during life as working with a shared group of people helps to gain success. Teamwork can be done by anyone; it can work for social workers or clients. Teamwork is very important in terms of the role of a social worker because they need to take care of all clients in the workplace and make sure that everything is up to professionally standard. Teamwork is important to maintain confidential information on the development of clients with themselves and other co-workers who need to know all this. They also need to write reports on the progress of clients and families.

Without teamwork social workers will not be able to help clients progress, the better a social worker knows their client and the situation, the better they are able to help them progress and support themselves. Social workers need good communication skills as they work closely with doctors, health visitors and child psychologists. An example where social workers did not work as a team was the case of Victoria Climbie who died because of severe physical abuse.

Images of social workers:

The above images show that social workers work with young people helping them through their problems. They also work with people with mental health conditions, school drop outs, drug and alcohol abusers, people with learning and physical disabilities and also the elderly.


Status means a person’s position in a particular job. Their value in society, it is based on peoples success, gender, money and education.


I carried out a questionnaire to find out what society thought about the status of a nursery nurse. To do this I had asked 10 candidates to complete my questionnaire.

The results showed that 10 out of 10 candidates said that the job role they consider to hold a higher status between a social worker and nursery nurse was social worker. This indicates that social workers have a high status. In addition to this I found out that 10 out of 10 candidates said that social workers have more social importance in society, because of better pay, better terminology and they have more responsibility, this shows social workers are better than nursery nurses. Furthermore I found that majority of the people said that having high level of qualifications gives you a boost on the status ladder because they are then more experienced in what they do. When a person has a degree in such a subject they are seem as ,more important in society than a nursery nurse because you can be a nursery nurse at only doing GCSEs whereas social worker you need to be a graduate. They also said that status refers to how skilled you are in the society because if a person has been in education for a long time they think that, that person has more knowledge in the specific area. Therefore having a job role title has an effect in society on the status ladder so from a social worker and nursery nurse the majority said social worker.

Overall my questionnaire shows that majority of my candidates consider the job role of a social worker to have a higher social importance than a nursery nurse. The variety of reasons why this is the reason is mentioned in the above paragraph. Therefore this questionnaire indicates that social workers do have social importance in society than a nursery nurse, mainly because social workers need more education in their specific work area.


I have researched 5 articles from different newspaper and websites that referred to what the media thought of social workers. I have done this to see how the media might portray a social worker to the general public. This will affect status.

The Guardian, (2010), implies that social workers are not carrying out their job properly. This shows that social workers are looked at negatively. The article is based on Baby P who died at 17 months due to being physically abused in 2007. The Guardian (2010), states “Staff at Haringey council in north London wrongly concluded that the toddler’s injuries were probably caused by lack of supervision and so used “wholly inappropriate” methods in his case”. This suggests that social workers are not carrying out their job properly. In addition the BBC (2002), also implied that social workers are failing to do their jobs correctly. The BBC (2002), informs “two social workers at the heart of the Victoria Climbie child abuse scandal have been sacked for gross misconduct”. The Free Press (2010) states “A social worker that admitted failings across the whole range of his practice, while part of a team working with Blaenau Gwent’s most vulnerable children, is beginning a two-year suspension”. This shows another negative view of social workers. However, The BBC (2010) shows that social workers are doing there very best in order to ensure that a child is safe at home, this shows a positive side to a social worker.

In conclusion the above evidence suggests that the media perceive social workers as not carrying their jobs out correctly. Although there was some positive articles found the majority articles were negative, therefore this shows that the media can strongly affect the status of a job role through the way it is communicated to people, it might be said the job role ‘Social Worker’ has a low status, therefore the media affects status.


The qualifications that a social worker needs to have a three-year honours degree or a post-graduate qualification in social work. They need to have 200 days of practice learning. This ensures that people have the practical skills required of them, they also have the first 6 weeks of employment social care workers will be given initial education training, which helps to extend skills and experience for social workers. Other qualifications that are needed is the National Vocational Qualification (NVQ), which has now become a part of the qualifications needed for employees who want to have a career in social care.

Qualifications that may benefit social workers are being educated further in the specific area they are working in and obtaining experiences. This is because the more a person knows and understands about being social workers the more they will be able to achieve satisfaction in their job. The more qualified a social worker is the more they are able to go up in the status ladder.

Career progression

Having a social worker career gives many opportunities to go into a different route for a career such as being a counsellor because of they can use the skills that has been gained from social working, they can become a team leader or manager in the setting.

Social workers can progress in their career by choosing to gain some other qualifications such as working in different settings e.g. working with public, private and voluntary sector as this can progress their career. By working in different settings this can help in understanding how to carry out different job roles in different settings for example working directly with the people e.g. as a councellor. They can also progress by taking other different roles such as more managent roles e.g. working as a team leader.

They can also change and progress career by working in the same role but working with a particular group of people to be able to widen their experience and specialise in a apraticular area such as working with children with learning disabilities.

Local factors

In this section I will be evaluating what I have researched about local factors that affect job opportunities in my area. Local factors, which influence job opportunities, are; job vacancies, transport such as buses, taxis, cars or cycles. It also can influence or affect job opportunities because of housing, the workplace and also because of jobs.

In the Lancashire area there are many Social workers jobs available in large places. Therefore, social workers from smaller towns are able to access larger communities were more jobs are available.

Qualified social workers in the public sector in England are eligible for help so there are able to buy homes near or away from work. Housing is a problem for all most every job if they are in big cities such as London, Manchester. This is because the housing prices are high and therefore some people cannot afford it and so they might lose out on the job or they pay extra on transport to get to and from work, and therefore this affects job opportunities.

However if workers receive help from the government then this can enable social workers to get jobs in bigger areas such as London where jobs are always available.

However forensic social worker jobs are available because they are recruiting qualified forensic social workers. These are provided by a private hospital in Bury. This gives social workers a possibility to provide services to the patients in the hospital.

In Lancashire there is a shortage of social workers due to previous cases such as Baby Peter and Victoria Climbie, because of these cases social workers are not put under pressure as they cannot allow the same situation to happen again as this will result in extreme measures such as public not being able to trust them and they all lose their jobs. As a result of shortage of staff there is workload on all staff because there has been a high rise in cases. As mentioned before in the approval section, many people do not want a career in social working because of the negative images that the media has portrayed about them. There are around 323 children in Lancashire are being cared for in other parts of the country, as there aren’t enough social workers in this area.

Research has been done on social workers and to see what has happened due to the shortage of them, and from the community care case-load survey [2010], it can therefore conclude that social workers have 40case loads each because of the rise in cases. This can affect job opportunity because this can cause problems for clients and social workers themselves because they may be under stress leading them in not being able to provide the best service for clients. This can affect job opportunity because some workers may not be able to cope with the workload and therefore leading them in not staying in a job like this.

National and Political Factors

In this section I will be evaluating what I have researched about the National and Political factors that affect job opportunities. The 2010 spending review states that about 490.000 public sector jobs are likely to be lost. Social workers faced 25% cut in October 2010 spending review, it results in a funding gap of £2.2bn and this way only one in four elderly people will receive help from the council. This shows that social workers will not be able to care for all clients that need help and support.

As a result of the job cutsjob opportunities have been affected because social workers job are not be available in smaller areas. 1,000 jobs are expected to be cut in 2010 and 2013, so £80million can be saved. This shows that job opportunities are affected because there will be jobless workers who might not be able to find available in smaller areas.

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The 2005 European directive stated that social workers need to operate at both local and global levels. This means that they need to be aware of both local and global levels so they are able to work in different settings. The 2005 European directive introduced a new degree level professional qualification. After this was introduced almost, 10,000 social workers had applied to the UK, in order for them to gain the practice that is needed for this job. This shows that job opportunity has been affected because many social workers applied for this degree level professional qualification and therefore there will be many of them applying for jobs however they may not be enough for everyone.

Many people may be attracted to this job role because social workers are entitled to non-repayable bursaries through the NHS Business Services Authority Prescription Pricing Division. This affects job opportunity because more people will want to work as they don’t need to pay for their courses as it is NHS funded.

Public sector workers face pay freezes and potential job cuts in the emergency budgets. This hits around four in ten workers including social workers. This shows that social workers are not getting paid for their job which affects job opportunity because they are not getting paid.

Demographic Factors:

Demography means the study of human population in a country for example in the UK, this research would include aspects such as world population, composition, birth, ageing, migration, race, death and change over time. This is used by governments and other non government’s organisations because the government need to understand and study more about the populations so they are aware of the countries condition such as the economic market research. For example if there are a rise of births in the UK then there might be a rise in child abuse therefore they need to ensure enough social workers are available.

The changes in the population affects job opportunities because as the population keeps growing then the more people there will be wanting jobs, therefore there may be lots of people who want the same job, however cannot get the jobs because the job availability may be limited. Social workers are more known for having female gender workers as high as 79% whereas male workers as low as 20%. This might be because people think females have better connection with people, as they are fairly positive and are good at problem solving and multi-tasking.

Research shows that in 1993 women aged 20-24years were in cohabited relationships and having children. Therefore this shows that there are a number of children increasing, this can lead to more social workers needed if there are children e.g. getting abuse or have drug issues etc. This also can suggest that if there are not enough social workers then the workload for social workers can become high because in some areas such as in Lancashire there is a shortage of social workers.

The BBC News [2009] suggested that there is a lack of social workers because in 2008 there was up to a third of posts that were unfilled. This shows that social workers are needed but people are not taking these posts, maybe because of the pressure it puts them under. This shows that job opportunities are affected because there are people who are not taking the available jobs.

The social workers that have a high age have more experience in the social worker industry. The diagram shows that 25years or more have 20% more experience and therefore this may stop from younger workers in getting a job because the elder generation are not leaving their job because they need to provide [look at appendices]. The more experienced social workers the more experienced circumstances will be seen and be able to act accordingly without fail.

Development of New Technology:

It is important that everybody who works in both public and private sectors to gain new technology skills as this is created to help people in their daily lives. Therefore it is important that social workers use the skills required, this is because social workers can use computers to gain better access to their case studies rather than looking through a pile of papers. It is also important that even though new technologies are created for both work and home purposes it is important they have a back-up of what they do. This can affect job opportunities because there may be social workers who are much older and are not aware of the new technologies and therefore they cannot carry out their job properly or they may be made replaced.

Social workers need to have IT skills because they will be able to update, change remove any information very quickly and easily. Social workers can just type a name in their database and all the information that is required will be there depending on who inserted the information.

Conditions of work

Social workers have choices whether they want to work full time or part time, this is because they will have different job opportunities. For example a social worker who is doing a part time job, can also complete a part time qualification such as a masters degree.

The working conditions that a social worker, works in are part-time or full-time. There working hours are normally 37 hours per week. However in residential settings this may be different hours, depending on which clients they are working with.

Social workers have a lot of paper work that they need to do and interviews that they need to do and review and therefore this can be both emotionally rewarding if they win a case but there job can also be very demanding. Therefore the work conditions are different depending on the person and the work place, for example in some areas there is a shortage of social workers and therefore other social workers have a heavy workload.


Social workers get a good pay, however the more the experience and qualifications the more pay they are entitled to. For example a social workers starting salary is approximately £19,500 in the UK. However the more experience and qualifications some social workers are entitled to get a pay of approximately £40,000 per year. This shows that they pay is good for beginners and the more experienced and also for the public sector because they get paid more than those in the private sector, research showed this.


Social workers who work full-time have a statutory right to 28 daysHYPERLINK “http://www.adviceguide.org.uk/index/life/employment.htm”‘HYPERLINK “http://www.adviceguide.org.uk/index/life/employment.htm” paid annual leave, including bank and public holidays. Other workers who are pert time also have holidays but this may not be paid leave. They also get paid on paid leave, this is approximately 5.6 weeks. This is similar to what a teacher gets when they are on holiday however primary teachers, high school teachers etc get more holidays, this is because when students have holidays, teachers do to, even though it may not allow them to have a holiday because of the amount of work they might need to mark. Therefore this is good for social workers because there has been research done and shown that social workers in the public sector have more days than those in the private sector.

Hour/Work pattern

Working hours are normally 37- 40 hours per week, 5 times a day. They work from 8am – 5pm every day.

Job security

Social workers all have good job security because the telegraph showed that there is a “continued high demand and pressure on social services and healthcare,” However though there is a high demand for social workers, there are many workers who have left the job because of the pressure and stress that has been put on them and therefore they left. Therefore this shows that to some extent there is job security, however this is not the case all the time.

Pension rights

When social workers work in the public sector some of their wage gets taken of them and straight into their pension account for future needs, this is money that workers in a public sector do not see. However in the private sector the workers themselves have to inquire on their pension schemes. However research has shown that ‘social workers have to pay an extra £75 a month in to their pensions if the government’s plan to increase employee contributions goes ahead in 2012’.

Over time

Four in ten social workers have ‘unmanageable’ caseloads therefore they work overtime and some organisations give overtime pay whereas some do not give overtime pay. However sometimes, some organisations pay social workers if they work overtime however it’s not very easy to get.

Job satisfaction

Job satisfaction is when an individual is content with their profession. When someone feels he/she is capable and has value within their job, this helps them feel worthy of recognition.

One way to achieve job satisfaction within a company is to promote the employee’s teamwork qualities, as this motivates the individual and is a good way to build his/her satisfaction. It is crucial that his/her colleagues help handle work problems and offer support. Consequently, this encourages people to feel their work is meaningful, honourable and so it allows the individual to respect others surrounding him as well as build a close relationship with colleagues. In order for a social worker to gain job satisfaction they need to be assertive and be able to negotiate on behalf of their clients and co-workers. Being able to analyse and assess situations shows that an individual is good at their job and shows they enjoy it, as they know what they are doing, this shows that social workers can gain job satisfaction by being fairly confident in the way they carry out their job, managing their time well and at the same time being reliable to finish a task when given.

Another way for an individual to not have job satisfaction within a company is when they are not promoted by the employee’s teamwork qualities, as this stops motivating the individual. Also when there pay is not enough for them, they may start to slack in working, as they want to get the pint across that they are not getting paid enough for the job they are carrying out. Or someone can not be satisfied in their job because they haven’t got any friendly co-workers and the atmosphere is not a great place to be, therefore this can lead to dissatisfying job role. For an individual to gain satisfaction in their job they can improve the environment by trying to communicate with other co-workers and see whether they have any similar attractions or dislikes, they may work together on a case given to them to work as a team, they can listen to each others ideas to help the case to be finished.

Client outcomes

The outcome that social workers want is for all service users to have the best service provided. Their outcomes also includes offering and referring clients to relevant services, to be able to support and guide their clients and make them able to be on their own at times. It is important that social workers achieve all their outcomes because if they have not then it can lead to unprofessionalism and cases like Victoria Climbie and Baby Peter.


Stressors means when an individual is taking on an activity, experience, condition, or a job situation, which causes them to stress. For example; Social workers have a lot of stress and things on their mind because of the amount of workload they have to deal with, role conflict, role ambiguity and family conflict. Other pressures related to being a social worker are having a tight schedule and also job performance as social workers are stigmatised by the media for not doing their job properly so this puts more pressure on them. The Guardian, (2010), implies that social workers are not carrying out their job properly. The article is based on Baby P who died at 17 months due to being physically abused in 2007. The Guardian (2010), states “Staff at Haringey council in north London wrongly concluded that the toddler’s injuries were probably caused by lack of supervision and so used “wholly inappropriate” methods in his case”.

Another stressful factor is trying to maintain a good relationship with bosses, colleagues and their clients. If job-related stress is severe this can result in physical, mental and emotional exhaustion. This type of job related stress occurs mainly in individuals who feel that they as a person and the work they do are not recognised. Research from oxford journals shows social workers who found their job satisfying felt that it was much pressured and that this adversely affected the service they provided. Social workers have indicated high levels of general anxiety. The psychological health measures have also found that in these professions if people do suffer from exhaustion they can perhaps go on a sick leave as they are known to take twice as much sick leave from work. The Daily Mail (2009) ‘social workers take more sick days than any other public service professional.’

Anti Discriminatory Practice

Anti Discriminatory Practice is a system to help fight against discrimination in the workplace. This practice helps prevent discrimination against race, class, gender, disability, age, homosexuality, domestic status, transgender, carers’ responsibility and others. This practice takes into account how an individual behaves towards other individuals in the work place and out of work places. All employees in the social worker sector take on this practice so there is no discrimination on the work grounds and promote equality for the employees and its clients.

Sex Discrimination Act

The Sex Discrimination Act helps protect females and males from discrimination. This Act protects people from being discriminated on the basis of gender, marital status, pregnancy, work accommodations, services, facilities and many more. This act also creates quality for both males and females in the work place. This is an important law within the social work grounds because it is important for all employees to treat everyone equally without discriminating who they wish to work with.

Race Relations Act

The Race Relations Act is a Law in the work place that prevents discrimination on the grounds of race. This law includes protection from discrimination of race, colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin, and many more. This is so that males and females from any ethnic background have the same equality as others in the work place. Social workers work with different people around the country, they will meet different people with different ethnic backgrounds and it is their job to make sure that all people are safe from abuse and discrimination.

DDA 1995

The Disability Discrimination Act is a civil rights law, which prevents discrimination of disabled individuals, and has the same equal rights as others in the work place. It is important that people maintain these rules and regulations for the protection of the workers in the work place. Social workers help different people, these can be able-bodied people or disabled people and it is their job to take care of everyone from abuse and other forms of violence as disabled people are more prone to it.

The health and safety (first aid) regulation

Health and safety presents regulations on the responsibilities to preserve safe, clean and protected work surroundings. In the social worker department it is necessary for them to carry out first aid, risk assessments, working safely in the kitchen and many more to keep themselves and others from risk of infection and disease.

Workplace (Health, safety and welfare) regulations

The workplace regulations 1992 state that the workplace should be safe and secure for the employers and others who are present at the work place. Therefore it is important for social workers to take care of co-workers as well as clients who are present in the building or they will be responsible to what happens.

Criminal Records Bureau (CRB check)

The CRB service enables workplaces in the public, private and voluntary sector to make safe rec


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