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Suffolk and Norfolk Social Work Teaching Partnership Update with Social Work Voices


Social Work Voices and the Suffolk and Norfolk Social Work Teaching Partnership members have been busy expanding their skills and experiences across many different areas of work.

Social Work Voices and members of the University of Suffolk’s Social Work team have recently completed an article that outlines the second phase of a two-year research project designed to understand the involvement of people with lived experience at the University of Suffolk and Suffolk County Council. The article looks at co-production, power, control and the shift in ethos which is occurring. The project was co-produced with lived experience co-researchers, all members of the Social Work Voices group. The involvement of people with lived experience was found to be invaluable, unique and irreplaceable. Those with lived experience bring real-life experiences, both positive and negative, enriching the education of students and social workers.

We have also made connections with the British Association of Social Workers (BASW) and the Social Work Action Network – with the hope that members with lived experience will be actively involved in both organisations in the future.  Social Work Voices has also designed and delivered teaching around their own feedback toolkit which offers different perspectives on collecting feedback from service participants and their carers. It has been well received and will be presented to practice educators at the Festival of Practice Education in Suffolk on 20th May 2022.

Working with the University of Suffolk, we have undertaken the mock end point assessment for the social work apprentices. This involved Social Work Voices designing and delivering a short role play which forms the basis of a written examination for the apprentices. This was a phenomenal and action-packed role play which made multiple professional demands on the apprentices and is sure to enrich their learning.

Many co-produced teaching sessions have been delivered by the group including ‘What do service participants want from social workers?’ and ‘What makes a good social worker?’. These sessions involved practical activities, role plays and discussion.

We produced a webinar for World Social Work Day In March entitled ‘Letting lived experience lead the way’. This was popular and generated much discussion from the virtual audience and we have had requests from all quarters for permission to reproduce this session. The webinar captured some of the complexities around co-production, as well as the enormous benefits that this brings.

Finally, we have delivered an introduction to coaching session to nine members of Social Work Voices and the University of East Anglia lived experience group. Mark Dimes led a rich and valuable session which was really appreciated by members of both groups.

We have welcomed new members to Social Work Voices. These new members have some fantastic experiences to share including previous experiences of blogging and podcasting.

This gives a flavour of the current slate of work we are undertaking, and we will report back with details of our summer activities soon!