Social Workers are brilliant individuals. Quite simply, they are unsung heroes and we believe that their achievements should be celebrated. It is with this in mind that we have taken the decision to sponsor a category at this year’s, Social Worker of the year awards. With nearly 20 different categories, from Championing Social Work Values to Mental Health Social Worker of the Year, the Awards are the premier platform for recognising the achievements of those unsung heroes.
Category Supporter: Creative & Innovative Social Work Practice
For our part, we have sponsored the category for Creative & Innovative Social Work Practice. A primary part of our business is innovation and therefore, when the awards came up, we knew that we had found our category. An opportunity to give back and celebrate those who personify one of our key business priorities.
We wanted to sponsor the awards as in today’s climate, social work seems to have transformed into a necessary evil. It seems like every month there is a story about a social worker in the news. To take a line from a Guardian article last month, ‘Social Work is forced to exist within what I call a ‘Deficit culture’, criticised by the media, government, inspectors and even some in the profession itself’. It was a powerful line and article. The author, Harry Ferguson, went on to say, ‘They sit with the troubled in their pain, with the sick and the dying, and help those consumed by grief after losing loved ones. They speak for the poor and dispossessed. They heal.’ It is this part of the job that gets forgotten.
We don’t forget and each day work with social workers to create technological solutions to help them in their role. Social Workers go to work each day and make a real difference, sit with families in dire need and pick them up from the abyss. They perform a task that is essential to modern life and protect the thousands out there that need a helping hand.
Why don’t we celebrate social workers?
Within the Guardian article it explored the concept of a deficit culture. This is a paradigm that is self-defeating in many respects. It postulates that the consistent negative messaging that social workers see every day has created a reality where they can never break free. This reality constricts them to knowing that regardless of how many ‘good deeds’ they are perceived to have completed, the scales will never be equal. They will constantly be fighting a battle that they can never ‘win’.
An example cited from within the article was of a social worker who worked with a troubled family. The family had a history of drug addiction and were most likely to lose their child. The worker went in to the family, created a rapport and turned an ‘impossible case’ into one that resulted in the family keeping their child and giving up drugs. That is a remarkable turnaround. When the family thanked the worker, she reflected it back to them, continuing to build their confidence rather than taking credit.
This strengths-based approach is common amongst social workers and you could say that they are simply doing their job. However, it is more than that, there is a level of deep humility that permeates the profession. That is an incredibly admirable quality but it’s also one that makes the industry an easy target for criticism. By not championing the positive then all you see is the negative.
Peter O’Hara, OLM Systems, founder and CEO;
“Since day one, I have created OLM to make a difference to the health and social care industry. We continue to invest to support social workers in their important role.
The sponsorship of the Social Worker of the Year Awards is our chance to give back. We can celebrate the achievements of those who give so much but receive such little recognition.”
At OLM Systems we want to break this perception and showcase the achievements of those who truly achieve recognition. Our support of the Social Worker of the year awards emphasises our dedication to the future of social care – together we make the difference.