The College of Social Work (TCSW) has published good practice advice for social workers working with people with learning disabilities and mental health conditions to help improve standards following the Winterbourne View case.
The good practice guidance was drawn up in collaboration with members of the service user community, the British Association of Social Workers (BASW), the trade union UNISON and the learning disability charity Mencap.
The guidance aims to address the special factors that need to be considered when social workers work with learning disabled people whose behaviour is challenging and distressing, and to promote high standards of professional practice.
It highlights the importance of the human rights of the service user, the need to not only prevent harm but also promote quality of life, the importance of ‘whistle-blowing’ on instances of harmful practice and liaising with expert colleagues to seek further advice on cases where appropriate.
Chair of The College’s Adults Faculty Bernard Walker said: “The Winterbourne View case highlighted the need for specific guidance on how social workers can work effectively with this particular group of service users. Social workers play a crucial role in ensuring that vulnerable people in society are protected, and are uniquely trained to manage complex cases.
“We hope that this guidance will prove to be a useful resource for social workers, and would like to thank members of the service user community, BASW, UNISON and Mencap for their contributions to this work.”