Social Work Law


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Introduction to Social Work Law

In the contemporary scenario, it is required to protect and safeguard the children so that they may not get associated with the risk and vulnerable groups and people. Along with this, for protecting and safeguarding children, there are several norms and regulations framed by the UK government that are needed to be abided by the social care unit. The present report focuses on assessing the pieces of social work legislation that protect children as well as adults from risks and hazards.

History of Social Work

Social work has its roots in the attempts of society to deal with issues such as poverty and inequality. It is typically associated with charity work; however, most often, it is considered a broader concept. Since ancient times, the concept of charity has been working, which aids in providing services to the poor in all major world religions. However, the modern social work profession and programme have their roots in the 19th century, which led to many changes in the service delivery procedure. There were major changes in social work practice during the 1960s, and all such changes continued to exist in the future as well. This has also changed the erosion of the psychodynamic influence in social casework.

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Social work became a speciality.

Social work had a professional identity in the early 20th century, and there are several formal standards in place. In this respect, the Council of Social Work Education has set some standards for managing professional resources. In recent years, a new system has emerged as a method that provides assistance for social services. Social work became a specialty in 1994 for the purpose of alleviating poverty among people. Focusing on the causes of poverty through research and reform, early social workers in the movement provided the poor with educational, legal, and health services. By the year 1913, there were around 413 settlements spread across 32 states in the nation, which improved the lives of the poor.

1. Sub-divisions into specialities within a variety of social work settings

Social care services are basically support facilities provided to vulnerable groups and people. These vulnerable people can be ill, disabled, or endangered by certain risks and hazards. Apart from voluntary organisations and support groups, social care services are also provided by private and public sector undertakings. The nature of their services, though, varies largely due to the involvement of budgets and expenses. The UK's'seading public sector organisation to provide social care services is the NHS (National Health Service). It has been providing several services like help at home, medical equipment, privileges in day centres, residential care, personal care takers, etc. The public sector is also referred to as the service sector because profit orientation is lower. The businesses in this section operate to achieve sustainable goals rather than huge profits. The NHS has been working with this aim to brace vulnerable and affected groups.

The indulgence of the private sector in social care services has been increasing since technological developments have taken pace. The major contribution of this sector has been the manufacturing of equipment. Ambulances, machinery, medical research, training institutions, etc. have been major segments of social care in the private sector. Since the orientation of this sector is mostly towards earning huge profits, the benefits to society and local communities are less. Residential homes, private nurseries, and hospitals have been established to provide social care services. The Together Trust operates residential homes for vulnerable children, people who are in the age group of 5–30 years. This organisation has been providing its social care services so that communities in England become a better place to live.

Looked After Team

Looked-after team service has been particularly started for children services, which has two basic teams: the Children Looked After team and the Leaving Care Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children team. The team is responsible for managing and supporting children and young people who are looked after by Harrow Council. However, on the other hand, the Leaving Care and Unaccompanied Asylum Children team is responsible for young adults up to the age of 21 to 24 who prefer to live independently. The setting has many strengths, as it manages the transition to the leaving care team or adoption team, and along with that, it also determines permanency arrangements for looked-after children. However, on the other hand, it has weaknesses as well because it focuses only on a certain age group.

Youth Offending Teams

Youth offending teams work with young people who get into trouble with the law. The team usually looks into the background of a young person and tries to help them so that they can stay away from crime. The team is also engaged in running local crime prevention programmes, and with that, they help young people keep away from criminal activities. The team has a strength that shows that youth offending teams assist young people and their families at court, and along with this, they also supervise young people in serving community sentences. However, on the other hand, the work profile of such a team does not turn out to be useful when youths are highly engaged in criminal acts.

Mental Health Team

Mental health team services have been started in Ireland with the use of a multi-disciplinary approach wherein a number of professionals offer their particular skills in a coordinated and complementary way. The major strength of the team is that it involves a number of professionals, such as addiction counsellors, behavioural therapists, psychiatric nurses, and vocational support trainers. However, on the other hand, the team sometimes lacks in pointing out the areas for improvement.

Social work becomes a profession, especially when practitioners engage in different services that are essential to child and youth protection. Legislation for sub-divisions in social work has been changed, wherein new settings have been included for safety and security purposes. In social work, there are different sub-divisions such as clinical services, GP services, etc. In the UK, for more than 100 years, social workers have cared for people at every stage of life. Social workers help others overcome life’s most difficult challenges, and they also manage the troubles of people related to addiction, abuse, unemployment, and mental illness.

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Definition of Sub-Division

There are several divisions in social work that change the scenario of delivering healthcare services, and a few are discussed as follows:.

  • Clinical practice is where, in general, practitioners render care services to the public.
  • Social care workers are engaged in rendering prominent services to the public so that health standards can be developed.
  • Multi-agency professionals are also involved in social work, where various care professionals work with charitable organisations.

As a leading nonprofit community, the Y was established to respond to social challenges. The Y also understands that challenges have been occurring among individuals regarding support and social services; hence, the youth team is engaged in supporting and delivering prominent services to the needy. The Y also responds to all the issues and challenges that affect the lives of people. The community also provides support through rendering suitable services such as child welfare, community health, environmental education, and family services. It is a private team in which several youths are engaged to resolve all the challenges occurring in public and social health.

2. Key pieces of social work legislation in the last twenty-five years

The government of the UK has proposed a vivid variety of laws and regulations that are useful in safeguarding individuals who require social care services. The Care Quality Commission is the functioning body that has been engaging all three types of organisations: public, private, and voluntary. Major legislation that Together Trust has to abide by is the Care Act 2014, the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006, and the Mental Capacity Act 2005. Children and older people are considered highly vulnerable to dangers and risks due to a lack of proper care and support. It has been observed that residential homes have grown within the past few years. This sudden expansion was due to increasing needs for fostering children with disabilities. When the complexity of maintaining a healthy environment increases, residential homes are considered the last resort.

The Care Act 2014 states that any person who requires care and support, irrespective of their age, gender, and background, is eligible to avail health care services from the community, groups, and other related organisations. The Together Trust has been functioning with regards to the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006. The organisation, though, has to follow other legislation as well, but its main objective is to safeguard children and young adults from abuse, harm, etc. This legislation of 2006 helped protect children from child labour and slavery, human trafficking, all sorts of abuse, and disabilities. On the other hand, the Mental Capacity Act 2005 was based on safeguarding people who lacked the ability to perform actions in their daily routines without any support. The Mental Capacity Act helped people plan and perform their activities, which were not possible without proper social support.

3. The reasons behind the introduction of laws in residential homes

The past few decades have witnessed severe developments in policies and legislation that were implemented with the aim of safeguarding individuals. With rapid industrialization, the rate of criminal activity was also increasing. Vulnerable groups like the disabled, physically ill, women, children, old age groups, weak adults, infants, etc. were at a big risk. To curb the growing cases of harm and abuse, several social and healthcare acts were formed. The government fulfilled its responsibility of safeguarding citizens from such abuses and harms in various social support organisations. The Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act was thus formulated and implemented for the respective communities and societies. It is important to apply such legislation because people require support and care only when they are unable to access certain daily requirements. Be it physical, mental, emotional, or financial support, care services were organised under these laws.

Another influential factor that resulted in the application of these laws was security from exploitation at care centres. It is not necessary that people who are safeguarding may be contributing to the improvement of a care situation. The Safeguarding Act helped abolish this fear. Any sort of unethical practice that could originate at residential homes and care support centres is monitored and regulated through these acts. The Together Trust gives privileges to children, and its responsibilities towards their protection and safeguarding increase. The Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006 helps bar individuals that contribute to the worsening of patients' conditions.

Residential homes do not treat vulnerable people as patients but do take care of them in the same context. They have their own assessment criteria that must be fulfilled for acquiring particular social care services. With age restrictions, Together Trust has created its own functional area or segment. Setting up boundaries like these helps in managing human resources effectively. Caretakers are an integral part of residential homes. They can be enhancers or destructors of an organisation's image in society and communities, both at regional and national levels. With the implementation of the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act, it becomes the social duty of caretakers to protect patients from any potential vulnerabilities. But the scenario will completely change when carers themselves become a threat to  to careHence, social groups and communities that are involved in such services are monitored by these acts and policies.

4. Use of legislation and its impact assessment

After the implementation of the Care Act 2014, the complete scenario of the health and social care sectors changed. In earlier times, awareness regarding social care factors was not preferred. It was always considered a responsibility of local hospitals and family members of the patient. But with changing times, developments took place, and several social care groups came into existence with the concept of providing selfless services without seeking personal or organisational profits. The implementation of these judicial acts helped create a sense of responsibility amongst caregiveThis act had a major impact on residential homes. Together Trust has been working with the Safeguarding Act as its principle rule for providing care services to individuals.

The Mental Capacity Act provides certain benefits to mentally disabled personnel. Residential homes and daycare centres have to follow these laws in order to function smoothly in the UK. Moreover, the Care Quality Commission monitors the activities of all support groups, which in turn adds value to these legislations. Ethical governance and a decrease in abuse and harm from the side of carers are major impacts of the implementation of  of legislatiThese charters have also contributed largely to the well-being of individuals that reside in local communities. Specific needs are concentrated rather than given generalised treatment. In addition to this feature, recruitment and training of staff have improved largely with the help of these constitutional laws. From inspection to appropriate authorization, the face of social care has emerged in a positive light after the implementation of these laws.

But a negative implication that has been experienced by residential care homes is declining employment. Since individuals have better options to earn money, they do not seek any sort of job in this sector. Although a smaller number of staff is not a big concern, skill levels are necessary. Hence, legislation has helped in the growth and betterment of social care service providers.

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From the above-mentioned report, it has been summarised that there are different professional care agencies that support health and social care firms in rendering services in the area related to safeguarding and protecting children. On the other hand, it also focuses on gaining knowledge regarding several reasons for introducing and amending the legislation within a particular area for protecting and safeguarding adults and children from risk. Lastly, it has also assessed the potential impact of legislation on the health care setting.


  • Carter, P., Laurie, G. T., and Dixon-Woods, M., 2015. The social licence for research: why care? data ran into trouble. Journal of Medical Ethics.
  • Daniel, B., and et al., 2015. Challenging Child Protection: New Directions in Safeguarding Children. Jessica Kingsley Publishers.
  • Glasby, J., 2017. Understanding health and social care. Policy Press.
  • Johns, R. (2014. Using the law in social work. Learning Matters.
  • Kadushin, A., and Harkness, D., 2014. Supervision in social work. Columbia University Press.
  • Kamerman, S. B., and Kahn, A. J., 2014. Privatisation and the welfare state. Princeton University Press.
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