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Having caught up with Chief Social Worker for Adults, Lyn Romeo, just a couple of weeks ago, we were eager to read more about her priorities in her annual report.


In her second report since her appointment, Lyn talks about the challenges ahead and priorities for the next twelve months. 

In many ways, the report echoes Jo Moriarty’s systematic review of the effectiveness of social work with adults, highlighting a “mixed and uneven” evidence landscape. With some areas, there is extensive research material highlighting what works, whereas in others the evidence is limited. 

A need to understand what works

In the foreword to her second annual report since being in post, Lyn said: “The need to understand what works in current social work practice is vital if we are to understand the effectiveness of social work models of intervention and develop an evidence base that helps raise the quality of social work.”

Coined as a ‘useful starting point’ into social work practice research, the annual report provides insight into the current research and evidence based landscape. It stresses the importance of looking at examples of successful social work interventions with adults and areas that might benefit from further research; notably social work with people with learning disabilities.

In fact, work on introducing a pilot scheme in a small number of local authorities in 2016-17 is still very much an aspiration, with a view to rolling it out more widely.  

Priorities for 2016-17

Lyn makes it clear that her focus for the coming year is to “achieve recognition for the role and contribution social workers make to an integrated health and care system”, which is an area she talks passionately about within the next edition of Sanctuary Social Work News (due out next Friday – 1st April). 

There appears to be a broader approach to defining ‘success’, with cost effectiveness and the impact on service users and carers at the heart. Service user and carer satisfaction, changes to quality of life and wellbeing, have all been flagged following Moriarty’s report. 

Underpinning the majority of Lyn’s priorities is an emphasis on giving the role of adult social worker greater recognition.  

Integrating health and social care

We weren’t at all surprised to read about what Lyn refers to as “maximising the effectiveness of expenditure across health and care”. It’s a considerable area of focus; with more attention given to a strengths and coproduction approach to improve people’s lives.

As the report notes, people who have multiple long-term conditions or are frail account for half of all GP appointments and two thirds of hospital bed days. Now, more than ever there’s a much stronger requirement for collaborative health and social approaches. This is very much an area of work under development though. As Lyn says in her interview inside the April – June edition of our magazine:

“There’s been a lot of progress, but integrating health and social care remains a huge challenge, as there’s a much bigger agenda for health services integration. It’s really important that we get a better handle on integrating health and social care though.”

To hear more about what Lyn Romeo and others have to say about the future of the profession, sign-up for your free copy of Sanctuary Social Work News.

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