5 Good and bad social work
In this clip you will hear examples of good and bad social work, as identified by a number of service users and practitioners.
Before you listen to the clip, think of two occasions when you have been a service user and have had to ask for help. This may have been an experience with the Health Service, an educational institution, or public transport. Think of one occasion when your request was dealt with in a helpful way, and another when you found the response to be unhelpful.
Write down what was helpful in the first instance and unhelpful on the second occasion.
How much did it matter that you did, or didn't, get what you wanted?
How important was the way in which you were treated?
Think about what lessons you can draw from your own experiences that you can apply to your role as a social worker.
As you listen to the clip, make notes on those aspects of social work the speakers found to be good, and those they found to be bad.
Compare the notes you have made from listening to the clip, to those you made on your own experiences as a service user.
Transcript: Good and bad social work
The ‘good social worker’
makes you feel important
gains your confidence
is straight with you
means what they say
doesn't sit in judgement on you
is a good listener
earns your trust.
The ‘bad’ social worker does the opposite.
This might read like a counsel of perfection, which you might feel no practitioner could live up to in any of the helping professions. It does serve as an important reminder that service users, like everybody else, want to be treated as human beings. Their problems and difficulties should not obscure the fact that they are entitled to courtesy, honesty, tact and consideration. These qualities have been subsumed in the traditional social work literature under the notion of ‘respect for persons’.