Social Work Ethics Assignment

Social Work Ethics Assignment Words: 2590

Guidelines on ethical practice are included because their role in determining action based social work is significant. Throughout the assignment the relationship between ethical issues and value judgments will be examined in relation to scenario one. The assignment will show how awareness of personal values is the first process by which Anti-Discriminatory, Anti-oppressive and Anti-Racist practices in social work are formed. To begin with, however, a general outline of Values’ is discussed. Given the wide ranging nature of the question set I have decided to use italics when specific points are made in relation to the opening quote). Values are difficult to define. Sherwood captures the range of ground covered y the term; “almost any kind of belief and obligation, anything preferred for any reason or for no apparent reason at all can be viewed as a value” (1989, p. 4). An individual’s values are adopted cultural or societal values and are therefore socially acceptable (Banks, 1995). This idea of what people ‘should do’ relates to behavior and social role.

The Central Council for Education and Training in Social Work (OCTETS) expands on this “a value determines what a person thinks he ought! To do, which may not be the same as what he wants to do, or what it is in his interest to do, or what in fact he actually does… (OCTETS 1976 pop) Values are seen in actions, and OCTETS acknowledges that actions may not be congruent with the value held and, values are described as a ‘what ought’, then this is based on personal or societal beliefs (Hugging & Smith 1995).

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This implies that unless an individual is aware of their own value base then they may be guided by prejudices which may cause them to act in oppressive or discriminatory ways (Thompson 1998). One concept, that of PC’S analysis, examines how personal values are gained through an interaction between an individual’s thoughts and actions, related o practice and prejudices (Thompson 1997). This personal (P) level interacts within a cultural (C) framework on the premise that these values are correct and are the ‘norm’ within the person’s culture.

Therefore it can be viewed that cultural influences discrimination and can be used by racists to explain cultural superiority (Thompson 1998). There is a structural level (S) that encompasses both these spheres of influence and Thompson (1997) identifies that power held by, for example, government will uphold institutional oppression by maintaining social divisions. The relationships can e illustrated thus: p: personal cultural Structural (Thompson 1 997 p 21) Personal values are therefore based on social standards of what is ‘good’ and ‘right’.

The implications for this can be examined within the scenario. Robert Jones has learning disabilities and has a history Of mental health problems. The biological disability may affect how Robert is perceived in society. Personal prejudices, cultural values and social forces can be seen to devalue and marginal’s disabled people within society in a form of discrimination referred to as “disables” (Thompson 1997 p. 107).

This has the potential effect of altering the perception of Robert by the community in which he lives, as does the public perception of people who have committed sexual crimes. Added to this is the influence of society reaction to community care and mental illness, both of which have lead to a “growing fear of mental illness” (Jack 1 998 p 8) in public perception influenced by media reporting of murders by people discharged by mental health teams into the community. All these! Points can be seen reflected in a micro sense within the values expressed by the day centre staff. This is mainly manifested in their attitude to Roberts offence. Issues are based around their personal values and related to their perception of people who have committed sexual offences involving children. Despite Robert having received therapy whilst in secure accommodation, there is still concern regarding his personal responsibility and concerns are based around the presumption that Robert could abuse others and re-offend.

It is important to establish whether a long term risk assessment been implemented to identify whether Robert is a risk. His attendance at the centre mess not to be the main concern, rather it is the proximity of the nursery which appears problematic for staff. In practice, if Robert were asked not to attend the centre, this could indicate discrimination by the centre staff, and yet he would still remain in the community. The staff seem to not have cannon! Wielded that Robert has the potential to change, as a result of the intensive therapy he received.

The nature of the ethical dilemma can be expressed by exploring the guiding principles of ethical conduct in social work practice. Client-centered approaches view clients as individuals who are assisted by the social worker to explore those elements that have consequence to their own perception of the world (Davies 1997 citing Howe 1987). This carries with it one core principle of social work values: the respect for persons (Banks 1995). Respect for persons is one of the principles by which there is “recognition of the value and dignity of every human 1975).

Beastie (1961 whose ‘seven principles of case work’ influence the current values in Bass’s code of ethics (Hugging & Smith 1995), used terms of ‘individualistic’, ‘acceptance’ and ‘non-judgmental approaches’ to identify hat not only does each individual hold unique qualities, but that a worker has to view the c! Lenient in a positive manner and not judge the client by their actions (Banks 1995). This basis for practice can also be seen in works by Rogers (1961), who used the term ‘unconditional positive regard’ to express a valuing Of a client, no matter what actions or values they have expressed (Meaner and Throne 1988).

In respect to the scenario, it is apparent that workers at the unit have made judgments about Robert due to his offence, which highlights their own values. Self-determination or self-realization can be seen as derived from ‘respect for persons’ (Overexert 1986). It can certainly be viewed as one of the dominant values in social work (Sherwood 1 989, Kamala 1994, Horned 1987). If, however, a social worker is guided by the presumption that a client can be ‘improved’ by their input then they are not acknowledging that values are human inventions, and risk imposing their own values on a client (Horned 1987).

It has been observed that self-determination remains problematic “ins! Afar as its apparent stress on the right of the client to go his own, possibly lawful way, has seemed a thread to the fine balance which it is thought social work should maintain between permissiveness and control” (Kamala 1 994 p 1) This value contains a duality in that the theory can be approached from two (conflicting) interpretations relating to ‘positive freedom’ and negative freedom’.

Positive freedom is an expression of the view that a client has control over decisions that relate to their life (Overexert 1 986) and this implies that the social work process is enabling client led awareness of where their actions are based, and their motivation for their actions. The social worker, Hereford has a duty to create conditions that respect the clients ability to make choices and to act on the clients wishes without guiding them (Overexert 1986). Negative freedom can be expressed as the social worker’s duty to not interfere in the client’s choices and actions (Banks 1 995) and in! Essence the lack of coercion (Horned 1987 citing Wilkes 1 981 For example, negative freedom would entail action on the behalf of the social worker only if there were the potential risk to others (Horned 1987). Negative freedom draws heavily on Kantian principles that view individuals as able to make decisions ND be responsible for the consequences Of their actions. Both these approach to self-determinism “can mean all things to all people” (Banks 1 995 pop) There are differing opinions relating to not only the nature of self- determinism, but to its relevance to social work practice.

One suggested reason for this approach being less commonplace in practice is that social workers can be seen as agents of social control (Banks 1 995), and considering that most social work is carried out under local authority control, the “non- directive” (Banks 1995 p. 0) manner of such person-centered approaches redirects away from service provision within a legal framework and responsibility to 10! Cal authority employers to counseling based work. Whetting (1975) observes that institutional norms of the social worker’s agency may require the use Of coercive practices that are not self-determining (Horned 1 987 p 23).

In defense of this one has to View a social workers responsibility to “promote the public good or the well-being of society in general” (Banks 1 995 pop) which can limit the extent that a client, in terms of positive freedom, can act. These principles can be acted upon in a utilitarian response to the ethical dilemma. Responses to the situation may entail acting in a manner that are the least harmful and most beneficial to the most people (Banks 1995). If acting under this theory it must be established whose best interests are being served.

One expression of this is that actions ought to be performed on the merit of their consequences (Horned 1987). One could therefore justify the staffs views that they are acting in the best interests of society by express! Sing their concern at Roberts presence in their community. This identifies the core of the ethical dilemma as to whether the perceived risk to the community outweighs Roberts rights as an individual who should be treated as a person who risks being oppressed by societal norms.

The Kantian view that forms an intrinsic value of ‘respect for persons’ in social work practice seems to be opposed to the utilitarian view which conflicts With the worker’s duties to the individual by the nature of social control in a bureaucratic social work system (Banks 1995). Conclusion In this scenario there is a conflict in the staffing group over Roberts right to chive services. The moral judgments inherent in the values and attitudes of some staff would guide them to remove Robert, and the perceived risk, from their environment and therefore eliminate their need to examine their own values.

The pragmatists in the unit can be seen as valuing Robert as a person first. This acknowledges the nature of his offence without judging his actions by societal standards. How this situation is resolved is problematic: “Is this a question for an individual worker, the staff team, or a management committee? ” (Sherwood 1989 pop). Whatever the outcome of this situation is, he validity of action taken by the staff can be guided by the value base of social work, from both professional, rather than form personal perspectives.

The professional code of practice offers little guidance on how to resolve this dilemma, simply stating that obligations exist to all parties involve! Veda (Horned 1987). One problem is that social work is not “universalism” (Banks 1995 p 10), each interaction that a social worker makes presents different problems (Sherwood 1989). It would be wrong to assume that any prescriptive list (Horned 1 987) could specify exactly how a social worker was to CT in a given situation, although Beefsteak’s principles can be viewed as a portrayal of desired qualities (Banks 1995).

The reality of practice is often much more complex, with more variables, possibilities and restrictions (Horned 1987) on actions, in that individuality forms dilemmas- each interaction will present differing value bases (Sherwood 1989). The very nature of an ethical dilemma is that a choice has to be made between two unwelcome outcomes and “having made the choice, the impact of the dilemma does not go away; for even the least unwelcome alternative is still unwelcome (Banks 1995 p 5). Ultimately a social worker has to be accountable and must be able to justify their! Action (Hugging 1995).

Bibliography Banks. S, (1995): Ethics and Values in social work. Macmillan. Windmills. Bolton. T, (deed. ) (2nd deed. 1987):languorously Sociology. Macmillan. Windmills. British Association of Social Workers. (1 986): A Code of Ethics for Social Work. BASS. Birmingham. Central Council for Education and Training in Social work. (1976): Values in social work. OCTETS. London Horned, M (1987): Values in social work. Wildfowl House. Alders Hugging. R, and Smith. D, (deeds. Issues in social work. Rutledge. London. Kamala. B, (1 994): self-determination and positive freedom in social work. University of East Anglia. Norwich. Meaner. D, and Throne. B, (1988): Person centered counseling in action. Sage. Overexert. J, (1986): Improving Social Work Records and Practice. BASS. Birmingham. Sherwood, S. (Deed. ) (1 989): The Values of Change in Social Work. Atavistic/ Rutledge. London Shimming. D, (1991): Client Access to Records: Participation in Social Work. Bravery. Alders. Thompson. N, (1 997 2nd deed. ): Anti-Discriminatory Practice. Macmillan. Windmills Thompson. N, (1 998):Promoting Equality. Rutledge. London **Bibliography** Bolton. T, (deed. ) (2nd deed. 1987):languorously Sociology’.

Macmillan. Windmills. British Association Of Social Workers. (1 986): A Code Of Ethics for Social Work. University Thompson. N, (1 Equality. Rutledge. London The alarming picture painted in the earlier sections of this paper, however, portrays growing communities with increasing levels of need and state provision in Australia. At best, it lacks the required level of commitment and, at worst, lacks any required sense Of responsibility. The inevitable ensconce, therefore, for older people is a life experience that reflects injustice instead of social justice, and abuse instead of care.

For the organizations, incompetence rather than competence is prevalent in practice and service delivery. In those circumstances, it would appear that ‘the agent of change” is caught up in a web of confusion arising out of the conflicting priorities of the service user and the agency. The increasing level of need that accompanies advancement in age competes with the increasing demands of the limited agency resources. The political, socio-economic, and ethical ramekin within which social work exists may, to some extent, explain the problems encountered when one attempts to address the issues raised earlier.

The agent of change concept may have a greater emphasis on agent than on change. Many old people are informal providers of care for older and frailer people. Provision of care often occurs at a cost to the informal care provider whether young or old. Sometimes that pressure can account for the abuse. The level of need is becoming more complex in this group. There is acknowledgement of this phenomenon by politicians, managers of care, and refashions in the allied care professions. This, tragically, is not accompanied by the commitment of resources to provide a basic standard of care for those who need it.

There are, therefore, unintended consequences of codes of ethics as there is ample evidence of “unmet need” and indeed abuse experienced by this vulnerable group of people: … The place of aged care in social work has long been ambiguous. Social work (as do other comparable professions), often displays a reluctance to place practice in this field within the core of the profession that embodies aspects of ageism in contemporary society. Working with older people is frequently characterized as “mundane,” “routine,” and not real social work.

He concludes that unless social work affirms practice with older people and their families, we will fail to be congruent with our own values. (Hugging, 2000, p. 3) Alongside this, professional practice is becoming more critical in its analysis of social problems and more sophisticated in its intellectualism’s of improving professional practice. In my view, the principles outlined by the IFS mirror many policy documents of good intent issued by the Inspectorate and various overdoing bodies overseeing/monitoring the quality of care for older people internationally.

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