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Social Work in a Pandemic

A Department for Education Partners in Practice report

Pandemics, by their very nature, are rare and tend to be hard to anticipate and predict. There are several variables affecting impact and response: the rate of spread and the seriousness of the illness and its impact on both patients and the community. These are always likely to result in an element of unpreparedness, and a need for health and social care services to adapt quickly and effectively, to the challenges they present. So, the Covid-19 pandemic has afforded a unique opportunity to explore new ways of leading and delivering social care services for children and families, and the lessons we can learn from it will, assist in recovery, change policy and practice, and provide insight into preparing for future pandemics and other extreme events.

This report was commissioned from Essex County Council, by the Department for Education to help current and future thinking. To deliver this, five other local authorities, Cornwall, Hertfordshire, Medway, South Tyneside and Stockport, and the University of Birmingham joined forces with Essex CC. This work was informed by a series of peer reviews, semi-structured interviews with social workers as well a national learning conference:

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NEW: YouTube video discussing social work in the pandemic

In a separate workstream, young, care-experienced researchers worked with Anglia Ruskin University, and their respective authorities, to produce their own report detailing their experiences of the support they received (both local and national) during the pandemic: