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A Day in the Life of a Social Worker during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Charlotte Young, Advanced Social Work Practitioner

Sheffield City Council Children’s Disability Service

I start the working day after having breakfast in my kitchen by going to my office (which is my kitchen) having said goodbye to my partner who goes up to the spare room, who also works for Sheffield City Council.

My first video call of the day is to a great grandmother who shows me two young children on an unannounced video call. The children are happy and it is the first time I have got to see the younger child sit at a table and draw. The great grandmother doesn’t realise that the sound isn’t working on the video call and has a long conversation with me that I cannot hear. When I call her back she advises me she was trying to show me the eldest child’s presents that she got for her birthday today.

I then attend a morning team meeting on Zoom and it is really good to see colleagues again. I even feel like I am back at work with the team when I hear the office fire alarm go off for a test. During this call my cat also wants to join the team meeting and puts her face on the camera!

Next, I have a video visit to a family of four. The eldest child can only say a few words verbally due to his additional needs. However today, he played a piano on his iPad very loudly for both me and my neighbours.

I have a bad feeling when I see two children who are on child protection plans for physical abuse when the youngest child has a cut and swollen lip, however she proceeds to tell me that she isn’t happy as a younger boy in school pushed her over and she starts showing me the grazes on her knee.

I then do a virtual child protection visit and I don’t need to ask to speak to the children on their own as they have already walked off with the phone to speak to me.

After this, another video call this time to a three year old in an adoptive placement. He tries to play a game to see how far up the stairs he can go before I can’t see him on the screen. After he comes back down to speak to me, I have a view, I wouldn’t usually have, up his nose, as he has pressed his face against the phone camera.

Into the afternoon now, I ask to see one of the children on a video call and mum starts walking upstairs to show me, however I don’t think the grandfather was too happy to appear on the video call as the mother also shows me her father who is trying to sleep in bed.

There is a benefit of doing a video calls to one teenager as I can now see them without needing a second worker with me. The family has just moved into a new home and whilst I don’t normally get to see the girls’ bedroom she shows me round the house and her new bedroom. The girl is with her mum and insists on me playing a game with her (Kazuit I think?!). Though I cannot see the questions on the screen she insists that I give her answers. I had clearly been on the video call for a while as the cat comes up to me and starts meowing for attention.

Whilst video calls are not the same as home visits, you can pick up on some body language and behaviour. During one video call to see two children, I notice that the mum is sat down at the other side of the room appearing very quiet and looking unhappy. After some more chat and questions mum says there has been a domestic abuse incident. So whilst I am waiting for two duty workers to visit the home my virtual contact with the mother continues. Both she and one of the children become distressed and I have to help them calm down. The duty workers visit and have a socially distanced conversation with mother and a safety plan is put in place.

It’s getting late now and I do a video call to a teenager who is non-verbal and does not use any Makaton signs and symbols or other communication symbols. This is mainly a one way conversation – however it is clear he is happy during the conversation as he is smiling into the screen. The conversation is hijacked a few times by his younger brother who keeps popping his head in front of the screen.

Finally, I do one of my frequent video calls to a young child who has global developmental delay (when children are significantly delayed in their cognitive and physical development). His mother tries to get him to look at the screen and wave but he is more interested in ‘Mr Tumble’ on TV.  But mum is excited to show me the child signing a dinosaur.

I end the day switching off my laptop and making the short commute to the kettle.

Twilight class to mark World Social Work Day

‘Promoting the importance of human relationships’.

Our theme for this event centres on women’s homelessness, adoption and issues for birth parents.

You are warmly invited to attend a twilight event to mark World Social Work Day on 17th March, organised by the Department of Sociological Studies, University of Sheffield.


Guest Speakers:

Professor Anya Ahmed, University of Salford

Dr Kesia Reeve, Sheffield Hallam University

Hannah Gal, producer/documentary maker

Joe Smeeton, University of Sheffield



Tuesday, 17th March from 16:45 to 20:00



The Diamond, Lecture Theatre 2, The University of Sheffield, 199 Leavygreave Road, Sheffield (University roundabout)

Travel by tram or bus – car parking will be difficult.


Join us on World Social Work Day to reflect on the Internal Federation of Social Work’s (IFSW) theme for this year which is ‘Promoting the importance of human relationships’. Our theme for this event centres women’s homelessness, adoption and issues for birth parents.

We are delighted to welcome Hannah Gal, documentary maker, to introduce a screening of ‘Take this longing’, a documentary about homeless women who have experienced the adoption of their children. We are pleased to have Joe Smeeton, Lecturer in Social Work at the University of Sheffield, talking about adoption and birth parents alongside Dr Kesia Reeve from Sheffield Hallam University talking about her research into women’s homelessness.  Professor Anya Ahmed from University of Salford will be discussing structural challenges and homelessness.

We will end the event with a Q&A panel and we then invite you to network over drinks and nibbles.

To register for this event, please visit EventBrite on https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/an-event-for-world-social-work-day-2020-tickets-89768703609 . You will need the following password – Reg.

Social Workers honoured at national awards ceremony 2019


Seventeen inspiring social workers, teams and organisations from across England have been recognised for their contribution to the profession after winning top awards at the national Social Worker of the Year Awards on Friday 29th November 2019.

Annika Leyland-Bolton, Doncaster Council won the silver in Team leader of the year in  Adult Services.

Louise Pashley, Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council not only won the gold award for Team Leader of the Year, Children’s Services but she also won the winner of winners Overall Social Worker of the Year Award. The award is selected from the gold winners of each category by the Board of Trustees of The Social Work Awards, the registered charity behind the annual event.

Louise, who has lived in Rotherham all her life, has worked for the council’s Leaving Care service for over 20 years, supporting young people aged 16-25 leaving the care system. During her time as the team’s manager, the service has progressed from an inadequate to outstanding Ofsted rating. The judges praised Louise’s strength of character, impressive leadership and unwavering dedication to her hometown

Huge congratulations to all of the other winners and finalists.

The full list of Gold and Silver winners can be found here https://www.socialworkawards.com/uncategorized/social-workers-honoured-at-national-awards-ceremony-2-1978/

Yorkshire and Humber finalists

Children’s Social Work Awards

Creative & Innovative Social Work Practice

Future Service, Leeds

Social Work Employer of the Year

Children’s Services, Leeds

Children’s Services, North Yorkshire

Team Leader of the Year, Children’s Services

Louise Pashley, Rotherham

Team of the Year, Children’s Services

Barnsley CYP Team

Children’s Social Worker of the Year

Tiffany Cook, North Yorkshire

Championing Social Work Values

Gail Faulkner, Leeds


Adults Social Work Awards

Team Leader of the Year, Adults Services

Annika Leyland-Bolton, Doncaster Trust

Jack Skinner, Bradford

Team of the Year, Adults Services

Mental Health SW Team, North Lincs

Mental Health Social Worker of the Year

Chloe Greenfield, North Lincs


National Teaching Partnership Conference – Hosted by Cheshire & Merseyside Social Work Teaching Partnership

The National Teaching Partnership was held on the 14th of November with many Teaching partnerships in attendance along with other agencies such as Social Work England.

Dave Bosworth Of University of Sheffield outlined in his workshop how the Teaching Partnership  has built relationships between universities & LAs through aligning the practice curriculum, enhancing practice education & CPD such as the ‘Social worker in Courtroom’ module’

Dot Smith programme manager of South Yorkshire Teaching Partnership  presented a workshop on How Teaching Partnerships can survive without government funding.

So see all the workshop’s please click on the links below

1A The Impact of Practitioner Teaching on Staff Development in the Local Authority

1B Rural Social Work – Challenges and Opportunities

1C Bridging the Gap Between Academia and Practice

2A Creating a Culture of Research Mindedness in Social Work

2B A Case Study in Sustainability

3A Transitioning Teaching Partnerships from Start-up to BAU Self-funding Partnerships

3B Building an Effective Relationship Between Academia and Practice – Lessons from the SYTP

4C Sustainability Planning – How Your Teaching Partnership Can Survive Without Government Funding

Key Note Speech – Enabling positive change in social work

Practice Supervisor Development Programme