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
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
Search have considerable experience in the social care sector,
and our 24-hour service complements the round-the-clock nature of
Obviously, the primary objective of social care is to help and
at any stage of their lives with mental health, physical,
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
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.
The social care industry
Working in social care can be emotionally demanding, but
the same time very rewarding. It provides defined career paths with
opportunities for advancement.
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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