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Relationship Between Personal And Professional Values

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Question:

What is the relationship between personal and professional values, ethics and the legislative framework for Social Work?

 

Answer:

The objective of this paper is to explore the relationship between the personal values and the professional values, the ethics and the legislative framework for social work. In this paper, I would establish links between each section of the paper to my chosen case study; ‘the Slater family’.

The personal can be defined as a set of strong beliefs and opinions that an individual considers to be important and worthy in his or her life. Values are also sometimes seen as problematic as they may change over time. (Beckett and Maynard, 2013). Examples of personal values are: equality, justice, honesty, positivity, respect and etc. These values are formed within a person once they start to understand the difference between good or bad and right or wrong. It is correct that right or wrong is a very subjective matter and this is precisely the reason that the personal values of people differ. The personal values would encompass cultural, moral, traditional, political or religious values. Personal values and their meanings are unique for every individual and they differ greatly from person to person. In fact, the personal values can differ even within the same profession. A Social Worker’s personal values may affect how he carry himself and the decisions and choices he make within his professional practice. Therefore, it is crucial for Social Workers to be aware of the existence of these values and their roots. For many individuals the reason behind their choice of this career path is mainly because of the values; to some extent their personal values are congruent to the values of Social Work. However there may still be times in a Social Workers career where they may find themselves in conflict between their personal values and professional values.

Professional values are the principles that are set out to guide individuals on how to act and behave within a professional practice. Professional values state how every practitioner should treat their clients. Although the HCPC code of conducts sets out clear guidelines on how every Social Worker should carry out their actions in practice, the professional values are distinct from those which are set by legislations and policies. Professional values are the values that are held in common by a profession, whether they are written formally or just known informally. Also each of the Social Work organisations may have their own set of values. (Beckett and Maynard, 2013). Examples of Professional Social Work values are: commitment to achieving social change in order to meet socially recognized needs, giving importance to the most vulnerable individuals of society, respecting differences within groups and individuals and etc.

It is important that the social workers should create a balance between their personal values and their professional values. It is very common for Social Workers to experience conflicts between their personal and professional values throughout practice. This conflict is a major problem for social workers. The problem occurs not only with this conflict, but also when the personal and professional values conflict with the needs of the diverse service users. However the professional values will determine how a Social Worker should perform as a professional practitioner. Therefore in every situation, before coming to a decision the Social Worker will need to question their personal values to see if it is compatible to the professional values. Moreover, when the two contradict, the professional values will always dominate the personal values as the Social Worker will put aside their own personal values, in order to conduct themselves in an appropriate professional manner (Banks, 2012). An example of when a Social Workers personal and professional values may come in conflict is if they were to be a religious induvial who did not believe in homosexuality and they were assigned to work with a gay couple, their personal values may lead them to treating them less favourably than the other service users; however their professional values will guide them to the right path; respecting diversity and treating people equally.

 

These issues may impact upon the Slater Family in various ways because the Social Workers personal values will make them look down a different road in regards to this case, whilst the professional values will bring them back, reminding them of the professional standards that they must maintain. One example of an issue that may arise with the Slater family is that both of the parents are unemployed and the family are on low income, living on housing and other benefits. The Social Workers personal values may allow them to be prejudice towards the family; thinking that they are just uneducated lazy people, who did not do further study or make any effort to try get a job. A second issue may be that the mother Sally, has learning disability. Even in today’s society there are individuals who still frown upon people with a disability. The Social Worker may presume that Sally is incapable of doing anything due to her learning disabilities, even small tasks and therefore considered not fit to be a mother. Another example of an issue could be the race of either of the parents, as the father is white British and mother mixed-race British. In this situation if the Social Worker is from a by different ethnicity they may find it difficult to work with people of different cultures. There may be further complications if the Social Worker who is assigned to this family, struggles to come to terms with their personal and professional values whilst working on their case. Therefore it is crucial for Social Work professionals to come to an understanding with their personal and professional values to ensure that they are providing the best possible service to all their service users. One other major issue is that Darren and Sally are allowing their friends to take drugs in their flat. The Social Workers personal values may be that this kind of behaviour is unacceptable, they will have certain expectations regarding substance misuse, especially since it is in the presence of two young children.

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