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Striving for access, equity and respect: The Workplace Race Equality Standard (WRES)

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The Chief Social Worker for Children and Families at the Department for Education, Isabelle Trowler, is working alongside the Chief Social Workers for Adults, Mark Harvey and Fran Leddra at the Department for Health and Social Care, to implement the social care Workforce Race and Equality Standard (WRES). The Chief Social Workers are committed to role modelling anti-racist and anti-discriminatory practice. A crucial part of their national leadership is to strive for every social worker’s right to be respected, regardless of race.

18 Local Authorities (LAs), from 1 April 2021, are joining the WRES with the aim to unite with both departments and learn how to better understand the reality of being a marginalised employee in social work. Through data and the sharing of personal experience, the WRES will allow LA social care departments to develop action plans, as well as facilitating a single national report to pull learning together and establish the national actions needed.

Here, Isabelle shares her reflections on the importance of the WRES.

Chief Social Workers, from left to right: Isabelle, Mark and Fran.
Chief Social Workers, from left to right: Isabelle, Mark and Fran.

I am delighted with the momentum the launch of the WRES has generated. The interest from LAs across the country demonstrates the understanding and willingness from across the social work sector to better understand, address and identify plans to overcome inequality in the social work workforce. It represents an important opportunity to develop a consistent and effective approach across the adult and children’s social care sectors.

The last year has seen a renewed mobilisation to tackle the challenges around diversity and inclusion in the social care workforce and expand on the work already underway. The WRES will be crucial in formulating and implementing local action plans to address issues based on the data gathered around a range of metrics on the experiences of the black and minority ethnic social care workforce.

I am pleased social work departments will be leading the way by implementing the WRES through its initial phase. The first full year will allow us to test our methodologies, meet with LA staff and learn from one another. Social work is an incredibly demanding and important job. All social workers deserve to feel respected and empowered to pursue careers to their full potential, regardless of ethnicity.

Read Isabelle’s full blog about why this work matters.

Over the coming weeks and months, the Department for Health and Social Care and the Department for Education will be introducing guest blogs from the 18 LAs, sharing their experiences with you as their WRES journeys get underway. You can read the first in the series from Brighton & Hove City Council.

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