Social workers are distraught about the portrayal of social work in Eastenders. The storyline concerns young Lola, and her baby Lexi, who was removed from her mother’s care by a social worker.
1. Social workers outraged by EastEnders storyline about baby Lexi – more here
“The British Association of Social Workers (BASW) is engaged in a battle with the BBC over a storyline in EastEnders.
Last Friday, the TV soap featured a social worker removing a baby from a teenage mother, Lola, apparently without sufficient grounds to do so.
The BASW immediately condemned the plot. It accused BBC producers of being “too lazy and arrogant” to get their portrayal of the child protection process right.’
2. Fury over Eastenders’ ‘misleading’ social work storyline – more here
‘An Eastenders plot line has sparked outrage among social workers who have criticised the BBC for misrepresenting their work and putting children at risk.’
I’m not quite sure how 5 minutes (approx) in total of a fictional TV soap can be seen to be ‘putting children at risk’ but I’ll no doubt get the message eventually.
3. ‘Eastenders’ portrayal of social work left me in tears’ – more here
‘I am sure I am not the only one to feel aggrieved by last Friday’s Eastenders social work story line, not least because accurate procedures were not followed [when a character’s baby was taken away]. Was it police protection, section 20? Where was the immediate risk to the baby? As a social worker, I was in tears, as was a colleague of mine, watching how our profession was portrayed on television.
As a result, I sent a complaint to the BBC ….’
Stick with me – it gets worse.
4. The British Association of Social Workers: – more here
Eastenders demonising social workers – BASW leads fight back
‘BASW has sprung to the defence of the social work profession after being inundated by complaints from members about an EastEnders storyline involving care leaver Lola Pearce having her baby removed by an oppressive social worker Trish Barnes, played by Tessa Churchard.’
‘Commenting on the portrayal Bridget Robb, acting chief executive British Association of Social Workers said: “It is disgraceful to see a publicly funded broadcaster deliberately spreading misinformation about the child protection process because it is too lazy and arrogant to get it right. We regularly give advice to programmes about social work storylines; we would like to know who advised EastEnders so badly.” ‘
Having just watched the episode in question, I wish the social workers in my life had been as harmless as the Eastenders’ social worker character, but more importantly as ‘kind and caring’ as the BASW seems to think they all are in real life.
Eastenders is a soap. It is fiction! Remember, nobody is suggesting that social workers are all ‘lazy and arrogant’ on occasion/sometimes/frequently/often, are they? Yet, the BBC scriptwriters are lazy and arrogant, according to BASW.
The reaction from social workers and from the BASW has done more damage to their cause than did the Eastenders episodes.
“Eastenders’ shabby portrayal of an entire profession has made a tough job even tougher”, writes BASW acting Chief Executive. Talk about over-egging the pudding. This is a portrayal of one single fictional social worker – not an entire profession – in a TV soap. It’s not a documentary.
“BASW is also urging all social workers to vote against Eastenders in the National TV Awards, unless the programme’s producers can demonstrate a proper understanding of why the portrayal has invited such concern among social workers.” Is that a mature response to a problem, or is it a childish foot-stamping reaction?
BASW quotes a whole load of abusive Tweets about the Eastenders episode in question – without providing any evidence of the reasons for those tweets, or the background of ‘who’ tweeted ‘what’ – but if it’s in the best interests of BASW, that makes it OK, does it? Not in my view.
Perhaps BASW doesn’t need evidence.
Perhaps BASW and social workers really are lazy and arrogant.
Perhaps BASW and social workers have memory problems – they seem to spout the same ‘excuses’ when it comes to criticism of their profession, even when that criticism comes from Judges.
As here just a couple of years ago. ‘Courts distrust evidence from social workers. Judges delay decisions in urgent cases affecting vulnerable children to hear from other experts, says report. Courts are refusing applications to take children into care because some members of the judiciary hold social workers in such low esteem that they do not trust their evidence, it will be claimed this week in a major study.’
If social workers and the BASW want a realistic portrayal of a social worker on TV, they might be more than horrified. Their shiny self- image might be seriously tarnished. I’d even volunteer to write an episode or three!
To all those social workers who have been reduced to tears by about 5 minutes in total (so far) of a fictional portrayal of social work, my message to you is that I would like you all to be reduced to tears as often as I’ve been by the real-life actions of social services.
Arrogant and lazy in the extreme were the social workers in my life. Manipulating and re-writing their ‘paperwork’, and doing so on the instructions of their Team Leader who instructed them to make sure it was ‘watertight’. He accidentally sent me a copy of his internal email – and also of the massive legal advice he’d had to seek to allow him to validate (not!) his despicable actions. Making decisions about a mature person, vulnerable because of her dementia – decisions made totally against the Mental Capacity Act 2005, hence the need for the paperwork to be re-written and waterproofed, on the instruction of their Boss.
Making decisions in a ward round that had long-lasting and devastating consequences for my relative – even though they had been warned by me about the possible consequences of the abuse of their powers of social services.
I used the words “if you do that, she will die”. I was right. They were wrong.
It took me years to get an explanation and a half-hearted apology from the Team Leader who was no ‘new kid on the block’’ He’d been around the block many times by the time his destructive power entered my life.
Apology? I use that word loosely, but it went along the lines of the fact that the Mental Capacity Act is enormously difficult to understand, even for (so-called) professionals. It included words like ‘new to this’, and ‘challenged’ but ignoring important matters like failing to do the decent thing, failing to consult properly with family, making decisions and fabricating paperwork to match his despicable directives.
It’s taken me more than 5 years to deal with the consequences of those decisions too – and my ‘dealing’ with it all is still serious, still ongoing and yes, I’ve shed more than a few tears over those 5 years.
The social workers in my life, and in the life of my relative, all colluded and contributed to the serious decline and unkind death of one gentle harmless kind individual. Such was their arrogance; so great was their intransigence; so incompetent were they all.
That’s what I call shabby, irresponsible, despicable social work.
I won’t be shedding a single tear over the fictional portrayal of one fictional social worker in Eastenders.
The BASW and its many social workers shouldn’t be shedding tears either. They should all grow up and act responsibly and honestly, rather than hide behind their tears.
Bet you all that one single droplet of my tears is far more genuine than your accumulated and congealed tears.