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Service Specific Issues

Core knowledge and skills, principles and values, and understanding of policies and legislation are required by all workers in social services. In addition specific knowledge and skills are needed to work in different parts of the sector with different service users and in different types of setting. The level and depth of knowledge required will depend on the individual's role within the organisation. Staff induction should include an introduction to these service specific areas.

 

 

Each staff member should be aware of:

  • The need for legislation and policies and procedures
  • The extent of their responsibilities within their role
  • Where to access information regarding policies and procedures


Knowledge and Skills

- Generic Knowledge and Skills
- Staff working in adult mental health services
- Staff working with people with learning difficulties
- Staff working with people with physical difficulties
- Staff working with drugs and alcohol
- Staff working with people with dementia
- Staff working with people with complex physical care needs
- Staff working with children and young people
- In addition where staff work in close support or secure units:
Legislation, Policy and Procedure
Orientation to Service
Understanding and Responding to Peoples' Needs
Shadowing colleagues and other relevant professionals

 


Knowledge and Skills

There are skills and knowledge generic to all social services, those which are specific to particular settings or which are relevant for working with particular users of service, and skills and knowledge which are dependent on the individual's role in the organisation. These are detailed in the National Occupational Standards (NOS) and the Standards in Social Work Education (SiSWE).

The range of skills which employees would be expected to have on entering particular employment will depend on their role and entry qualification. All employees at induction should be expected to demonstrate or develop communication skills, an understanding of team work, principles of care relevant to their specific setting, codes of practice and the ability to reflect on their practice.

In addition, the level of knowledge which employees would be expected to have would depend on their role and entry qualification. Core knowledge should be evident in an employee's ability to understand and respond to the needs of users of service. The required level of understanding of relevant theories and concepts will also depend on an employee's role.

The Standards in Social Work Education (SiSWE) - also available in pdf format - set out what needs to be achieved for the honours degree in social work. A qualified social worker taking up employment would, therefore, be expected to possess the appropriate knowledge and skills set out in that document.


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Generic Knowledge and Skills

In order to be an effective practitioner in the social services sector in Scotland , it is expected that all staff should have the following knowledge and skills regardless of the context of their particular service or location:

  • Reflect on and develop your practice (including an ability to undertake learning in a self-directed manner)
  • Communication
  • Health and safety
  • Loss and the process of grief
  • Stress management
  • Outline of service delivery- other parts of the organisation or other agencies
  • Service user groups/committees, their purpose and the concept of service user involvement
  • Specific safety policies e.g. for working in the community (lone working)
  • • Stigma, stereotyping and discrimination
  • Empowerment and the promotion of social inclusion
  • Reporting and recording
  • Promote choice, well being and the protection of all individuals (adults)
  • Promote the well being and protection of children and young people (children and young people)
  • Referral systems
  • Knowledge of staff support systems

In addition, staff will need service specific knowledge and skills for example:


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Staff working in adult mental health services

  • Introduction to mental health
  • Mental health issues and the needs of service users
  • The medical and social models of mental health
  • Working knowledge of referral system
  • Eating well
  • Advocacy
  • Policies on medication


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Staff working with people with learning difficulties

  • Introduction to learning difficulties
  • Learning difficulties and the needs of service users
  • The medical and the social models of disability
  • Sexuality rights
  • Person centred planning
  • Advocacy
  • Communication methods e.g. Maketon
  • Specific programmes e.g. for people with autism
  • Appropriate managing of challenging behaviour


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Staff working with people with physical difficulties

  • Introduction to people with physical difficulties
  • Physical difficulties and the needs of service users
  • The medical and social models of physical difficulty
  • Aids and adaptations and service providers


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Staff working with drugs and alcohol

  • The effects of drug and alcohol use
  • Drugs, alcohol and mental health
  • Helping problem drinkers and/or drug users
  • Living with HIV/Aids
  • Introduction to detoxification programmes
  • Awareness of the different services available e.g. counselling and advice services
  • Introduction to groupwork
  • Understanding of court orders e.g. probation.
  • Management of abusive and aggressive behaviour


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Staff working with people with dementia

  • The ageing process
  • Different types of dementia, their symptoms and effects
  • Working with individuals, families and carers
  • The importance of individuals maintaining social networks and relationships
  • Administering medication


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Staff working with people with complex physical care needs

  • Introduction to people with complex physical care needs
  • Participate in interdisciplinary team working
  • Aids and adaptations and service providers
  • Administering medication
  • Use of equipment e.g. syringes, spigots, litmus paper
  • Infection control
  • Skin care
  • Risk assessment
  • Extended feeding techniques


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Staff working with children and young people

  • Depending on the specific job role of the worker, a selection of points from the following list may apply
  • Contribute to protecting children from danger, harm and abuse
  • Concepts of culture, gender and beliefs that can affect attitudes and behaviour
  • The prevention and management of challenging behaviour
  • An understanding of how all children develop and learn and how to recognise developmental delay.
  • An understanding of how to talk to children
  • An understanding of how play and the importance of play to the developing child
  • The importance of working with parents or carers
  • The importance of creating and maintaining a safe and secure environment for children
  • The importance of promoting positive behaviour in children.
  • For some children & Young people, the impact that being looked after has on them


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In addition where staff work in close support or secure units:

  • Model positive behaviour and recognise the impact of crime and anti-social behaviour


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Legislation, Policy and Procedure

A large number of policies and legislation guide social services delivery. Staff at induction should be aware of key legislation, policies and procedures which are central to the service specific area in which they employed. All employees should be aware of the main objectives of The Regulation of Care ( Scotland ) Act 2001 and of the Scottish Commission of the Regulation of Care and the Scottish Social Services Council.

The service specific legislation, policy and procedures which an employee needs to be aware of in induction will depend on the service user group they will be working with and the type of setting they will be working in. It is not necessary for all employees at this stage to be aware of the detailed content of legislation. However, they should know how key legislation is reflected in the work setting's policy and procedures or the policy and procedures of the wider organisation. They should also know how their role and responsibilities within the work setting or organisation relates to policy documents. Qualified social workers, however, will need an in depth knowledge of certain key aspects of legislation, policy and procedures. Guidance and information will be required in the following areas.

  • What is the main legislation that this service works with or is guided by?
  • What main policies and procedures in this work setting (or in the wider organisation) do all employees have to follow?
  • What are the main roles and responsibilities outlined in the employee's job description and how do these relate to the organisation's policies and procedures?
Each setting should identify which legislation, policies and procedures it is necessary for an employee at induction to be made aware of. Key legislation may be selected from the following (further useful information can be found here):
  • Social Work ( Scotland ) Act 1968
  • Children ( Scotland ) Act 1995
  • National Health Service and Community Care Act 1990
  • Community Care and Health ( Scotland ) Act 2002
  • Adults with Incapacity ( Scotland ) Act 2000
  • Mental Health (Care and Treatment) ( Scotland ) Act 2003
  • Protection form Abuse ( Scotland ) Act 2001
  • Community Care (Direct Payments) Act 1996
  • Smoking Health and Social Care ( Scotland ) Act 2006
  • Getting it right for every child
  • The same as you
  • Joint future agenda
  • Getting our priorities right
  • Curriculum for excellence
  • The child at the centre
  • Guidelines for working with young people
  • It's everyone's job to make sure I'm alright
  • Changing Childhoods
All new employees should also be made aware of the range of legislation to counter discrimination. This includes:
  • Disability Discrimination Act 1995
  • Human Rights Act 1998
  • Sex Discrimination Act 1975
  • Race Relations Act 1976 and 2000


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Orientation to Service

Employees should be given access to the National Care Standards relevant to their specific service area. Employees should familiarise themselves with the content of their specific National Care Standards as their induction proceeds. Contained within these are the main policies and the main principles within the standards.

Many organisations will have Charters or other guides for users of the service which will be based on the Care Standards and all employees at induction should be given a copy of these. Finally, the aims and objectives of specific service settings should be made available to employees at induction.


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Understanding and Responding to Peoples' Needs

All employees need to understand how a service users needs can affect the communication skills necessary in order to competently respond to these needs.

Employees should develop an understanding of stigma and discrimination and be aware of what is needed to respond in a way so as to promote anti-discriminatory practice.

At induction all employees need to develop an understanding of how all service users may be vulnerable to exploitation or abuse. They should know how to respond to a situation in which they become aware of abuse taking account of policies and procedures and their roles and responsibilities within the organisation.


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Shadowing colleagues and other relevant professionals

Shadowing the work of colleagues would be a useful means of helping new staff to understand their role and responsibilities in relation to other social service workers and other relevant professionals. An important aspect of this learning is enabling new staff to identify the links and overlaps between their responsibilities and those of other workers and to think about how to manage those to best effect for service users.    


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