Social Worker - Job description

Social workers often work with people experiencing crisis or people who are socially excluded. Their aim is to provide support to enable service users to help themselves. They maintain professional relationships with service users, acting as a guide, advocate or as a critical friend.

Social workers work in a variety of settings within a framework of relevant legislation and procedures, supporting individuals, families and groups within the community. Settings include service users' homes, schools, hospitals and other public sector and voluntary organisations.

Qualified social work professionals are often supported by social work assistants. They also work closely with other health and social care staff.


Typical work activities

Over 50% of social workers work with young people and their families. They may also work with the following groups:

  • young offenders;
  • people with mental health problems;
  • school non-attenders;
  • drug and alcohol abusers;
  • people with learning and physical disabilities;
  • the elderly.
  • Government legislation focusing on the integration of health and social work services means that social workers often work in multidisciplinary teams.

Tasks typically involve:

  • undertaking and writing up assessments (often with medical staff), which meet specified standards and timescales;
  • conducting interviews with service users and their families to assess and review their situation;
  • offering information and counselling support to service users and their families;
  • organising and managing packages of support to enable service users to lead the fullest lives possible;
  • recommending and sometimes making decisions about the best course of action for a particular service user;
  • liaising with, and making referrals to, other agencies;
  • participating in multidisciplinary teams and meetings, for example child protection, mental health;
  • maintaining accurate records and preparing reports for legal action;
  • giving evidence in court;
  • participating in training, supervision and team meetings.

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