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Support for social workers during COVID-19

A female social worker uses her hand to explain as she talks to a male service user. .

A WELS researcher is leading a project to support social workers during the pandemic. Joe Hanley, Lecturer in Social Work in the School of Health, Wellbeing and Social Care, is piloting the use of free, online continuing professional development (CPD) resources to rapidly upskill social workers in disaster social work response, including working during a pandemic. The research has received funding from the OU’s Rapid Response to COVID-19 scheme.

Joe Hanley said:

“Social workers have been essential keyworkers throughout the COVID-19 pandemic response. However, as in previous disasters, social workers have experienced numerous challenges, including a lack of contingency planning and training, difficulty being flexible within strict statutory contexts and disproportionate impacts on vulnerable populations. An improved social work response to the pandemic would improve the support for the often-marginalised communities social workers support.”

Working in partnership with the British Association of Social Workers (BASW) and the University of Stirling, the project will consolidate learning resources and make them accessible on-line so that social workers are better equipped to support the vulnerable communities with whom they work.

The Social Worker toolkit, which will be available in 2021, will build on existing CPD guidance led by Mr Hanley.

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