Social Work News is an online news site that also has a quarterly print magazine.
Social Work News is owned by Sanctuary Personnel, who are also partners in the Social Work Awards.
This is the about page on their website:
The evolution of Social Work News: Social Work News was initially launched in 2012 by health & social care recruiter, Sanctuary Personnel, to help positively promote the role of social workers. The publication was largely a CPD device, and in the years that followed, it grew to become a much-valued resource for social workers, both in the UK and abroad.
In September 2020 – months into the pandemic, and after seeing first-hand the impact of years of negative press on this sector, and the social workers at the heart of it – Sanctuary decided it was time for Social Work News to evolve.
The company was keen to help create a space where social workers were celebrated – where their stories were told, and where they could share their achievements, as well as highlight their frustrations. As part of its Corporate Social Responsibility, Sanctuary committed to diverting a portion of its profits each year to fund the development of the magazine, and the creation of a new community-based online platform (mysocialworknews.com) to help grow the magazine brand and support more social workers. An editorial team was brought in to lead the development of the magazine and its content, and to ensure it remained editorially independent of Sanctuary Personnel.
Sanctuary Personnel are the largest suppliers of agency social workers in the UK, it is in their interests to do anything and everything to entice social workers to any platform they are ultimately in charge of.
I cannot see how it can be editorially independent of Sanctuary Personnel when it’s Sanctuary Personnel paying the wages of the editorial team. They are hardly going to write an article like I did regarding Sanctuary Personnel being so heavily involved in the running of the Social Work Awards, that will never happen, they wouldn’t write an article that challenges their employer in any way. Nobody would.
The editorial team consists of the editor Nik Farah, the content editor, Vince Peart, and the art director, Owen Dye.
It has been in it’s present form since September 2020, an online presence, Facebook and Twitter, and the quarterly print magazine.
It’s all about the voice of the social worker.
They didn’t have a bad start regarding the beginning of it’s present form. There were some really good articles, this one for instance:
Another one about a child and their mental health:
I’m not saying that all the content was riveting, there was a lot about the social work awards and things like that but there was a wide range of writers and they actively asked for people to submit an article, which lives up to the whole “for social workers, by social workers” hype. They even did a writer of the month thing where they would pick one of the articles each month and give the writer a hamper.
Then it changed..
Vince Peart, the Social Work Tutor, appears to have taken over what is posted, here is some more about what he was doing before he joined Social Work News:
He joined Social Work News as an Editorial Consultant in January 2021, and then became a Content Editor in September 2022.
The posts went from a variety of articles by different people, to just copying and posting news stories from elsewhere and opinion pieces from the same few social workers.
There is Vince Peart, who i’ve spoken about already, and then there are the others who write opinion pieces for Social Work News.
Matt Bee – an adults social worker who used to write for Social Work Tutor.
Tilly Baden – an adult social work manager who used to write for Social Work Tutor and was co host on the Social Work Tutor podcast
Millie Glass – a children’s social worker
Maisie McDonald – an anonymous children’s social worker
Vince Peart, Matt Bee, and Tilly Baden also do ‘ask the panel’ articles, where a question is posed to them and they all answer it.
So Social Work News is basically Social Work Tutor 2 – Electric Boogaloo
Vince Peart runs Social Work World on Facebook which is all Social Work News articles, they are just reposted on there. The Social Work World Facebook page is the old Social Work Tutor page with a new name, and the 500k followers that went with it. Social Work World also has a Twitter page.
There is now also a Social Work Radio podcast with Vince Peart and Tilly Baden, like it used to be when he was Social Work Tutor.
In my opinion Sanctuary Personnel rebranded Social Work Tutor under their Social Work News brand, and it’s just a rehash of Social Work Tutor but with money behind it and the corporate backer gets to put their name out there.
Now for the articles, which are pretty much the same old rubbish over and over again, there is nothing interesting or thought provoking. News articles are just from other news sources and opinion articles are samey, some are incredibly baiting and sensationalist.
There is nothing thought provoking, nothing that challenges you. There is no diversity with regards to the writers, nothing about racism, no LGBTQ+ issues other than a quick nod when a story is taken from another article.
All of the writers are white and CIS and I believe heterosexual. There appears to be absolutely nothing any of them are passionate about, apart from self promotion.
There is not a wide range of lived experiences to bring to the table.
Most of the articles are news stories, these are lifted from other media outlets, bits are cut out and then posted on SWN as news. They post them because they mention social work in them, there is sometimes a very tenuous link.
Some are not up to date, like this one:
The article is regarding social workers in Derbyshire being advised not to ask dementia patients who the current Prime Minister is. The original article appeared on the 11th November so very shortly after Liz Truss had announced her resignation and after Rishi Sunak was announced as the new Prime Minister.
Derbyshire County Council even deny it in the article. SWN just regurgitated a 4 week old article.
All of their news articles are regurgitated, they never have any exclusives, no interviews, no reports, it’s regurgitated stories from other media sources and personal opinion articles from one of the five writers.
I started my journey with being an expert by experience by thinking that all social workers are terrible and that service users are always treated like rubbish. This blog post has taken me ages to write, part of that reason is that i’ve had to read lots of Social Work News opinion articles. I am struggling to write as I feel a wave of depression and hopelessness come over me whenever I think of this blog post. I feel exactly how I did when I was reading Social Work Tutor and seeing those memes. I feel that as a service user i’m the lowest of the low, that i’m seen as a potential murderer by social workers, and that I should consider myself blessed if any of them give me their time. Not to mention social workers just roll their eyes when having to deal with parents.
I even got to the point where I thought about not finishing this post, I just felt resigned, that nobody listens to me, that i’m not important, my voice, and the voices of my children are not important, just like I did before. I just feel depressed that what i’ve read is the attitude towards service users.
Social Work News seem desperate to portray social work in a poor light. The writers want to be portrayed as victims so they can whine about it while saying they are actually heroes. They regurgitate absolutely every single child death that occurs, and there are plenty of opinion articles regarding those deaths as well. Almost all of them touch on that it’s unfair to blame social workers when a child dies. They almost always state in the child death opinion pieces that the media never prints anything that shows the good that social workers do. The media does, yet SWN never posts any of those. The following links are all stories of the good that child protection social workers do. The stories themselves are deeply upsetting but they are all about how children were suffering and they are now out of that situation and safe. Some of those children would now be dead if social workers hadn’t protected them. The only stories about child neglect or abuse that can be printed are those that end up with criminal charges, they do show how children are now in a safe environment though. It took me only a few minutes to find these a few days ago:
It’s not the hero worship I feel that Vince Peart and friends feel they deserve, but those articles do show what happens when children are suffering and are made safe by social workers.
What happened to my family was that social workers just made up my children’s experiences., didn’t listen to what my children were saying and in fact didn’t even ask them, didn’t listen to parents, didn’t look at any evidence, they literally fabricated my children’s lives into something that had no basis in reality. It’s why I can write what i’ve written without any fear because the social workers involved with our case were incompetent. They came up with a scenario and just rewrote history. One of my children attempted suicide because they kept on getting told repeatedly that what my child was saying wasn’t true. Seriously, my child was telling social workers their lived experience and the social workers would over and over tell them it wasn’t true, my child would be crying and screaming and the social workers would not relent. Two of my children were suicidal. The effects of what the social workers did are still lasting. Essex County Council refused to investigate.
So I was greatly triggered when I read the following article written by Matt Bee, an adults social worker and has been a regular contributor to both Social Work Tutor and Social Work News:
Two men stole a motorbike from someone’s home, one rode off on the stolen motorbike and the other one was on the bike the thieves arrived on. The victim gave chase in his car and ended up crashing into the thieves causing them both serious injuries. The victim received 22 months in prison, the thieves received a suspended sentence. A gofundme has raised £150k for the victim of the theft.
Matt Bee is asking if the 25 year old men who stole the motorcycle should be shown compassion because of their childhood trauma. I guess that might be a good subject for discussion, or it may just be trying to find something to write about.
Both of the men have criminal records stretching back to childhood. I’ve now written down all of the evidence of their childhoods that there is in the public domain. From that, Matt Bee has decided they suffered a traumatic childhood. The following is from his article:
Now, I don’t know the first thing about either of those two injured lads, but as the show progressed, we learnt that both had lengthy criminal records stretching back into childhood, and we were even shown their pre-pubescent mugshots.
I bet their stories are like the stories of all the men – and a handful of women – that I worked with as a forensic social worker. Life started badly for them and got worse from there. Is this their fault?
I felt sick to my stomach to read a social worker write those men’s childhoods with absolutely no evidence other than they were young offenders. With no evidence from either the men, or from anyone involved in their childhoods, Matt Bee has decided that they had traumatic childhoods. Life started badly for them based on nothing else other than their young offending.
The only people who should be telling the story of their childhoods is them, not Matt Bee, a social worker who has never even met them, who has no access to anything about them, yet has already judged their families as abusive, and them as traumatised. Not only that he’s told the public they had bad childhoods.
Of course when social workers say something happened even if there is no evidence, people believe them, here are comments on the actual article:
Both the authors of those comments are referring to having just read about the men’s childhoods when in reality their traumatic childhoods have just been invented by Matt Bee.
What Matt Bee has done here is what nearly killed one of my children.
He could have just written an opinion piece based on the title without using a ‘real life’ example. He didn’t, he took two men from a news story and wrote their childhoods despite knowing nothing about them other than one thing.
I’m writing this with a feeling of hopelessness in the pit of my stomach, are children doomed to have their childhoods rewritten by social workers who haven’t even spoken to them? Does he do this with the adults he works with? I wouldn’t want him near my children, or myself for fear he’d just rewrite history.
Then we have Maisie McDonald, it’s a pseudonym, she’s anonymous. It is possible she doesn’t actually exist and her opinion pieces are written by one of the writing team, I write that hoping fully that is true.
Almost all of her articles are baiting, trying to get a reaction out of people.
This one for instance:
The whole article is basically what is says in the title, that supervision is a total waste of time, she absolutely rips it apart. This was posted on Social Work World, as absolutely everything that SWN churns out is as it has a bigger audience thanks to the amount of people who liked it when it was Social Work Tutor.
Almost all of the social workers responding on Social Work World disagreed with her and pointed out that if she is getting nothing from it then her manager is at fault. The scary thing is that she is currently supporting a student social worker and thus doing supervision sessions with her, given she finds them a waste of time that poor student in effect has a terrible manager.
There is this article:
Which is Maisie stating how it’s the judges who decide what happens with children and not the social workers. That is incredibly misleading as they give a lot of weight to what the social worker says, so if the social worker misses out something then the judge can make the wrong decision, from the article:
An example of this is Finley Boden.
Finley lived with other carers following his birth, before a family court order, issued on November 17th, 2020, ordered that Finley be moved back to live with his parents within eight weeks, despite the concerns of social workers.
Finlay died just 39 days after being returned to his ‘parents.’
The concerns the social worker had were not that he should not return home, it was the time the reunification would take, the social worker said 6 months, the Judge said 8 weeks. The way Maisie has written it leads the reader to believe that the social worker was against Finlay being moved back to living with his parents.
It’s a terrible article and she’s twisted the truth to the extreme, ranting on about the Judge who made decisions that went against what the social worker said.
It’s just sensationalist garbage, if Maisie McDonald can twist the truth so drastically in a written article, what kind of social worker is she?
Then there is this one:
Maisie is stating in the article that universities aren’t teaching students the practical skills they need to do the job, that universities are only teaching them theory and that they should also be teaching them all the practical skills they need, like how to use the computer system, how to write assessments, all of the kind of things that students go on placements to learn how to do while learning all the theory stuff at university.
It literally makes absolutely no sense, she’s saying that basically she is teaching the student all she needs to know. In my service user mind that leads me to believe that learning to be a social worker is exactly like when I worked at Tesco, I just had to be taught how to work the tills. University is pointless for social workers.
She definitely seems to have an issue with lecturers and what they say and that she is better than a lecturer at teaching someone how to be a social worker.
The way she talks about the student is horrible, compares her to a dog and says she is annoying, not to mention that both the student, and the university and lecturers would be easily recognisable so Maisie may be compromising their confidentiality.
That whole article makes social workers, and the whole system that teaches them the knowledge and skills to be social workers, look stupid and worthless.
Her articles usually get a lot of engagement so I can’t help but wonder if she is actually real or if she’s been made up to be controversial so that there would be more engagement with SWN posts.
Vince Peart is employed by Sanctuary Personnel as a content editor. Sanctuary Personnel will want to see a lot of clicks on their articles, he’s in charge of the content that goes on, so it is in his interests that content is presented to the public that gets lots of clicks. A great way of doing this is by posting articles he knows will be controversial.
I say I wonder if someone else is writing as Maisie McDonald solely because her posts do get the most engagement and her attitude to social work and the people around her are so controversial. The article about lecturers doesn’t make any sense whatsoever, i’m not a social worker, i’ve never been to university, but it is clear to me why you have to do both.
Social Work News posts a lot of articles about the danger that Social Workers face, Vince Peart is really hot on this subject and there are so many articles regarding attacks and murders of social workers, a lot of them are overseas. A lot of it is scaremongering. The following article covers this subject better than I ever could:
It seems to me that Sanctuary Personnel’s sole goal with Social Work News is to get as many social workers as possible to interact with them. Obviously Sanctuary Personnel are a business, the more social workers they get signing onto their books, the more money they make, they are solely about making a profit, the bigger the better.
Since launching mysocialworknews.com in November 2020, the Social Work News team has been delighted by the social workers stepping up to publish their own articles and their own views. We’re determined to continue to promote and champion the amazing work being done by social workers across the globe. We’re also working hard to ensure our team is bringing you the information you want, from the people you want to hear from, and to give you a platform and community to be proud of.
There are only 5 contributors, the same 5 over and over again, only their views.
There is no opinions or insight from anyone but them, and one of them possibly doesn’t exist. There are no voices of people with lived experience of social work, no voices from foster carers, no voices from care workers, family workers, nobody higher up, say a director. No interviews with politicians, no real interesting content.
They don’t reach out to other social workers to write an article, they don’t reach out to other sectors of social care that the 5 writers don’t cover. It’s just the same 5 voices over and over again with the exact same views. That and articles that have already been printed elsewhere, sometimes a lot sooner.
The most important people in social work are the service users, yet they have no voice at all.
Sanctuary Personnel have now blocked me from Social Work News on both Twitter and Facebook. I am fully aware that it is likely to be Vince Peart who made the decision and pressed the block button, but everything he does with regards to Social Work News is on behalf of employer. So if Vince Peart was indeed the one who pressed the block button he did so on behalf of Sanctuary Personnel, whether or not he informed his bosses beforehand or whether or not they instructed him to do so.
I did plan to write more, there is so much to cover, my blog post regarding Vince Peart and Social Work News is here:
There is still more to cover, I may do a part two. I’ve just found writing this so utterly deflating and depressing, i’m having an internal struggle while my mind is jumping to and from whether my initial view of social works is the right one and not my later view. I find it depressing that Social Work News is promoted as being written by social workers for social workers when the content is as it is. There are no opinions from anyone other than the not very diverse 5 content creators, and some articles are written to be purposefully baiting.
I wonder whose idea it was to convert Social Work Tutor Facebook page into Social Work World and post nothing but links to Social Work News stories. Social Work News has now just followed on from Social Work Tutor. Vince Peart running it, Matt Bee and Tilly Baden contributing, even Social Work Radio is just a new name for the Social Work Tutor podcast. I don’t know if Sanctuary Personnel paid Vince Peart to have every single Social Work News story placed on his old Social Work Tutor page with 500k plus likes, or Vince just likes the attention.
I also noticed that in late 2020 and early 2021 Vince was still contributing to Social Work News as Social Work Tutor. All of the articles by Social Work Tutor have been deleted from SWN, the only mention of him participating as SWT is as part of the ask the panel articles with Matt Bee and Tilly Baden, bit weird that, it’s like they don’t want any connection between Social Work News and Social Work Tutor despite them now being almost identical.
Whatever name you call it, it’s still the same old scaremongering sensationalist rubbish which leaves this expert by experience felling despondent and depressed.