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1. What methods you discuss should be linked to the problems of inequality, etc. Service users, whose health and wellbeing is damaged by social inequalities tend to:  Lack power and autonomy;

The assignment for Patch Two


Critically discuss the methods social workers can use to promote

adults with mental health issues and carers’ well-being in the current policy context.


Your Patch should address Learning Outcomes 3 and 4:


3. Evaluate the policy context which frames social workers’ capacity to promote

the well-being of vulnerable people.


4. Critically discuss the methods social workers can use to address social

inequalities in health and promote well-being.


There are two main parts to the Patch:

 A discussion of the policy context of current social work practice.

 A critical discussion of the methods social workers can use to promote service

users’ and carers’ well-being.

What you write in this patch should follow on from what you have discussed in Patch

One in two ways:

1) Broadly you can group policies into two types:

a) General policies which influence the general context of practice. For example,

‘Austerity’, the government’s drive to reduce public spending.

b) Policies specific to Social Work and Service User Groups; e.g. the Children’s

Act 1989.

2) This is can be a very wide area so be selective: discuss policies which are most

relevant to your topic/service user group.

3) Describe the relevant aspects of policies and be critical. In particular do not

accept at face value the claims governments make for their policies. Rather give

a balanced assessment, informed by relevant sources.

4) Because its effects are so pervasive in social care, in terms of increasing need,

cuts in services and tightening eligibility criteria, you should include some

discussion of ‘Austerity’.

5) Two aspects of the policy context you should consider are:

a) That there are often contradictions between apparently progressive policies

(e.g. around improving access to, and the quality of services) and the impact

of cuts which have the opposite effect.

b) Similarly much of the discourse around welfare reform can be seen as

portraying service users as undeserving and, to that extent, might serve to

compound the problems of inequality.


1. What methods you discuss should be linked to the problems of inequality, etc. Service users, whose health and wellbeing

is damaged by social inequalities tend to:

 Lack power and autonomy;

 Be socially isolated/excluded.

2. So you should discuss ways in which social workers can address these

problems. This can include general approaches (e.g. empowerment and antioppressive

practice) and more specific methods such as solution focussed, and

task centred practice.

3. Whatever methods you discuss you should recognise that service users and

carers are ‘experts by experience’ and can play an active part in overcoming their

difficulties; e.g. through mutual aid groups.

4. You should relate this discussion to the policy context; e.g. in statutory services

social workers often have very restricted contact with service users and the

services they provide are often limited. So you should have a critical discussion

of how this affects social workers capacity to support service users

5. If it is helpful for you to use theory, such as Thompson’s PCS model or ecological

theory, you can; but you do not have to.

Some General Points to keep in mind:

1. Well-being underpins this discussion. A theme of the module is the psycho-social

damage that inequality inflicts on service users’ well-being.

 And as this is the last patch finish with a conclusion which pulls together the key

points of your assignment as a whole.

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