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FIRST SOCIAL WORK INDABA 24 TO 26 MARCH 2015 Print E-mail
Thursday, 26 March 2015

RESOLUTIONS AND DECLARATION - FIRST SOCIAL WORK INDABA 

 We the participants attending the first Social Work Indaba with the theme “Revitalising Social Work Practice in South Africa”, hosted by the Department of Social Development and development partners, and attended by representatives of the Portfolio Committee of Social Development, Members of the Executive Council, Heads of Department, Social Workers and Social Auxiliary Workers from national and provincial government and non-profit organisations, from all nine provinces, Institutions of Higher Learning, Health and Welfare SETA, the South African Council for Social Service Professions, Social Work Veterans, Ministerial committee for the review of the White Paper and Ministerial Committee on foster care, and representatives from professional associations and invited guests from Howard University (USA), representatives from international and development partners

Acknowledge:
- the history of racial discrimination that bequeathed the post-apartheid democratic government a fragmented social welfare system characterized by poor quality services and uneven access determined by race and geographic location;
- the role and contribution of social workers and social auxiliary workers and social work in the fight for human rights, social and economic rights enshrined in our country's Constitution and the commitment to improve the quality of life of all South Africans.

Take cognisance of:-
- the heightened levels of addiction, HIV and AIDS, increasing criminality among young people, high levels of gang related violence in schools and communities and sexual violence against children and women, especially in economically deprived areas and human development indicators that point to a country with significant levels of social fragmentation, unacceptable levels of social alienation and the breakdown of social institutions and increased levels of vulnerability among children, youth, women, older persons and persons with disabilities.
- the present state, standing and image of the social work profession;
- the constrained levels of the financing and resourcing of the social welfare sector that continues to significantly compromise the provision of adequate, appropriate and quality services to individuals, families and communities in need;

 noting that:-
- the NDP 2030 vision states that a robust social welfare system should be one of the pillars of the country's social protection agenda and that the poor bear the greatest burden of a heavily constrained social welfare system;
- social workers have the capacity to enact their work as a thoughtful, analytical and creative activity, and that these capacities are and should be recognised and supported in human service organisations;


THEREFORE RESOLVE THAT:

Commission 1 – Social Work Supervision and Management


The Recruitment and appointment of Supervisors, Middle- and Senior Managers at National, Provincial, District and Service Points and in the sector in general, in the social work setting, must have a Social Work qualification and be registered
 Non-social work managers be redeployed to other areas where skills will be relevant, to create space for appropriately qualified and registered social workers (in order to comply with the Act)
A standardised programme must be put in place to develop supervision, mentoring, coaching and management competencies and skills within social work nationally
National audit of the current supervision and management capacity to be done and a plan of action developed to address capacity deficiencies
There must be a review to ensure alignment of the South African Social Services Professions Act No 110 of 1978 (as amended), Code of Ethics, Social Services Practitioners Policy, Occupation Specific Dispensation (OSD), Supervision Framework and other related policy documents

Commission 2 – Working conditions and retention strategies


Review of current salary, benefit structure and incentive schemes
Develop and implement a resource policy aligned with the service delivery model for the provision of appropriate social infrastructure for social workers to render effective social work services and standardised package of tools of trade 
Implement fully resourced Employee Health and Wellness programmes (including institutionalised debriefing programmes) at sub district level
Review and implement social services practitioner retention strategy 
Refine social welfare service delivery model to accommodate both generic and specialised social work practice
Develop a strategy for generic and specialised social work practice
The need for a collective voice for social service practitioners
Improvement on information and communication management (knowledge management)

Commission 3 – Social Work Practice


Review and ensure standardised organisational structure at service delivery level, to enhance service delivery capacity  
Market the profession robustly for it to be visible in the community
Implementation of all methods in social work, including community development 
Generate a body of knowledge on the Afrocentric and cultural sensitive approach to social work practice 
Develop ICT strategy to enhance social work processes, including improved infrastructure and training

Commission 4:  Promoting integration and multi-disciplinary practices


Empower social workers to function within a multi-disciplinary and multi-stakeholder environment,
Improve professional confidence, self-esteem and image of social work practice
Strengthen social work research agenda to inform evidence-based interventions

Commission 5:  Professional and ethical considerations in social work


The Council must develop and implement a transformation agenda to ensure demographic representation, regulation of the social service workforce and to improve relations with its members and other related matters
Review of policy, legislative frameworks and systems that govern the Council with a view to improve organisational efficiency 
The Council must, as a priority, develop and implement a Communication Strategy to engage with its members
Clearly defined scope of practice and norms and standards for social workers and social auxiliary workers
Review and dissemination of Code of Ethics for social workers and other social service professionals
Commission 6 – Capacity Building of social work practitioners
Review current student social work placement practice for improved training outcomes
DSD and other employers should proactively promote access to structured and standardised Continuous Professional Development (CPD) opportunities by employees, including utilisation of the online system 
Social Development Services Academy must be established to ensure continuous  skills and professional development of social service professionals
Standardised induction programme for social services professionals must be developed and implemented
Exchange programmes designed to enhance the understanding of social work theory, policy and practice 
Ensure career-pathing for social auxiliary workers

ETHEKWINI SOCIAL WORK INDABA DECLARATION

We, the participants of the Social Work Indaba, meeting in Durban on 24 -26 March 2015,  and responding to the call for revitalising social work, and
1. Recognizing the history of racial discrimination that bequeathed the post-apartheid democratic government a fragmented social welfare system characterized by poor quality services and uneven access determined by race and geographic location;

2. Affirming the NDP 2030 vision, that a robust social welfare system should be one of the pillars of the country's social protection agenda and that the poor bear the greatest burden of a heavily constrained social welfare system;

3. Noting that there are heightened levels of addictions, HIV and AIDS, increasing criminality among young people, high levels of gang related violence in schools and communities and sexual violence against children and women, especially in economically deprived areas and human development indicators that point to a country with significant levels of social fragmentation, unacceptable levels of social alienation and the breakdown of social institutions and increased levels of vulnerability among children, youth, women, older persons and persons with disabilities.

4. Acknowledging the role and contribution of social workers and social auxiliary workers and social work in the fight for human rights, social and economic rights enshrined in our country's Constitution and the commitment to improve the quality of life of all South Africans.

5. Concerned with the present state, standing and image of the social work profession;

6. Further constrained by the levels of the financing and resourcing of the social welfare sector that continues to significantly compromise the provision of adequate, appropriate and quality services to individuals, families and communities in need;

7. Acknowledging that social workers have the capacity to enact their work as a thoughtful, analytical and creative activity, and that these capacities are and should be recognised and supported in human service organisations;


8. We reaffirm our commitment to the social work profession and the Agenda for Social Development and social justice by responding to the urgent call for revitalizing social work practice;

9. We call on the social development sector to take decisive action to implement the resolutions of this INDABA;

10. Commit to work together to develop and implement a Plan of Action with clear time frames, annual reviews on progress and a biannual national social work indaba on the following identified key areas:

- Social work supervision and management
- Working conditions and retention strategies
- Social work practice
- Promoting integration and multi-disciplinary practices
- Professional and ethical considerations in social work
- Capacity building of social workers