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An introduction to social care

Working in social care requires a great deal of patience and a genuine desire to help the most vulnerable people in society. Although it can be quite emotionally demanding, the job satisfaction and sense of 'making a difference' really make it worthwhile.

Job security and defined career paths make the social care industry an attractive place to work as there are many opportunities to progress to managerial or strategic roles.  

Search have considerable experience in the social care sector, and our 24-hour service complements the round-the-clock nature of the industry. 

Obviously, the primary objective of social care is to help and support people
at any stage of their lives with mental health, physical, environmental
or standard of living needs. With a hugely diverse array of roles in "professional" (qualified) and "non-professional" (unqualified) capacity, there are varying degrees of support and care provided depending on the needs of each individual, from full-time supervision to periodical meetings, and from brief intervention to constant 'cradle to grave' care. 

Never before has social care been so high on the government's agenda. It links health, housing, justice, education and employment, and there has been an increasing call for the integration of services to reflect the overlap between all these areas. The recent change in government and spending reviews have brought with them both fresh ideas and new challenges to face the industry, and recent high-profile cases regarding the protection of both vulnerable children and adults have dominated the news, bringing the sector under public scrutiny. 

Social care is often split into two sub-sectors - Children and Adults - although they are not mutually exclusive.

Up until the age of 16, the government has an obligation to ensure that children are in the care of a parent or legal guardian. Local authorities, charities and private organisations manage specialist residential homes for children separated from their families, and there are opportunities to work in fostering, adoption, child protection, young offenders and with children who have learning or physical disabilities. Child protection social workers are responsible for ensuring the safety of children in their environment, whereas the fostering and adoption specialists will assess suitable carers and manage the process. Youth-offending teams put emphasis on education and environment, and various programmes, such as Sure Start, have been engineered to support children and families from the most deprived backgrounds. 

An ageing population in the UK has called for greater care for older people, within care or nursing homes, or in a domiciliary capacity. Social workers are responsible for ensuring vulnerable people and children are in the safest environment possible and care and support is given to adults with physical and mental health needs, provided by paid or unpaid carers. In these cases, social care and health care are inextricably linked, as it is when working with adults dependent on drugs or alcohol. The sector aims to support victims and rehabilitate perpetrators of crime, and social workers liaise closely with the police, courts, healthcare professionals, families and job centres to put in place plans and solutions to promote independence and well-being. 

The primary concern of social housing is to provide homes for low-income families and individuals; local authorities, housing associations and charities are landlords to over three million homes in the UK, reserved for tenants in desperate need of affordable housing. These organisations offer more specialist housing support to those at risk of homelessness, as well as hostels for those who have been deemed as homeless and are seeking more permanent tenancies. Sheltered housing caters to older people who can live independently but with on-site support. 

The industry is subject to tight regulations, from bodies such as the Care Quality Commission (CQC), who regulate, inspect and review all adult social care services in the public, private and voluntary sectors in England. And from a sector under constant review, there are plenty of opportunities for policy workers, auditors, and administrators within the industry.

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The social care industry

Working in social care can be emotionally demanding, but at
the same time very rewarding. It provides defined career paths with opportunities for advancement.

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Why Search?

We understand the social care arena. Through our extensive client base we are able to offer candidates the ideal role - be it a permanent or temporary position.

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