Reflecting on our recent experience of virtual working with councils, health services, social workers and schools
Maria Knox is the Principal Social Worker for Adults at Kirklees Council
Tell us a bit about yourself – who are you, what’s your role and why did you get into social work?
I have been working in adult social care for over 26 years. I started working at Kirklees Council in 2004 and completed my social work degree at the University of Huddersfield. I gained experience in intermediate care, hospital and community teams and was a best interest assessor. I moved into social work management roles and became the Principal Social Worker in October 2018. I chose to work in adult social care because I wanted to make a positive difference to people’s lives -I can’t think of anything more important than that.
Why do you think World Social Work Day is important?
World Social Work Day is an opportunity to show appreciation to social workers for the difficult and complex work they do, and celebrate social work as a profession. Celebrating the day this year has new challenges, due to the coronavirus pandemic, but social workers will be doing their best to celebrate it despite the difficulties.
What are you doing in Kirklees to celebrate social work?
One day is not enough to do this justice, so we have planned a programme of events and activities that will be happening throughout the year:
- Communicating successes, for example through ‘proud clouds’ and a storybook
- Sharing videos of social workers talking about their jobs and experiences
- Setting up professional social work forums covering aspects of social work practice, social work developments, practice education and continuing professional development for social workers. These will complement existing best interest assessor, mental capacity and safeguarding forums
- Promoting wellbeing activity including use of the ‘Healthier Outcomes’ app and toolkit
- Hosting a social work network event in the autumn
Kirklees is part of the Yorkshire Urban and Rural Teaching Partnership (YURTP) for Social Work. This partnership will continue to improve the quality of academic delivery, placements and learning and development.
What are your hopes for social work, both in Kirklees and as a whole?
The core values and principles of social work still drive our ethos in Kirklees. This is set out in our new Vision for Adult Social Care, with its focus on people, partners and place. We have an ambitious programme of change for social work and social care and we are working with IMPOWER to inform our workforce planning for the future; social workers play a key role in this future. Social work is complex and challenging and the ability to form and maintain effective relationships is crucial. This means taking an inclusive approach to connecting people with families and communities in ways which promote independence. Many things have changed over time, but core social work values such as respect, honesty and empathy remain the same and will help keep our relationships strong in these challenging times.