Yesterday morning I popped along to a meeting of the Edinburgh Local Practitioner Forum to hear about the latest guidance for social work staff using social media.
The gathering of over 40 practitioners heard from Ann Moffat and Amanda Waugh from the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC), who last year published guidelines for social service workers and their employers on the appropriate use of social media.
We heard about the risks and pitfalls of using social media, with some sobering examples of people being removed from the SSSC register for inappropriate behaviour on the web. See their website for recent hearings and decisions. Examples included:
- a nursery manager who made derogatory and racist comments on her personal blog about children and parents at her nursery
- a care worker who befriended an ex-client’s mother on Facebook and was later seen in online photos drinking large amounts of alcohol with the ex-client (who had a history of alcohol abuse)
- a social worker who was filmed being drunk and disorderly in a shop – the video was posted to YouTube by a bystander
We also heard, though, about the opportunities that social media presents, with some great examples of using it for collaboration and engagement, as a tool for knowledge management, and as a fast and effective communications platform.
The SSSC is keen to hear from social work staff with their thoughts on the guidelines. They were keen to stress that they can’t tell people exactly what or what not to do – every situation is unique and the most important thing is that staff feel confident in using these sites appropriately.
Graphic courtesy of the Edinburgh Local Practitioner Forum.