Two new practice manuals published

Following the success of The Social Worker’s Practice Manual, we are pleased to announce the publication of two further manuals: The Learning from Practice Manual by Neil Thompson and The Care of Older People Practice Manual by Dr Sue Thompson.

They are available by clicking here or from Amazon using the links below.

Neil Thompson’s Lesson for Living – Have a ‘Not to Do’ list

Having a to do list is a long-established and very wise idea. It is so very easy to forget about something that you need to do. Important things can slip away if we have not made a note of them. One key advantage of having a to do list is that, when it gets too long, it is giving us two important messages:

  1. We may be trying to do too much and thereby be overstretching ourselves, On my Time and Workload Management e-learning course, I talk about four important principles, and one of those is: Too much work is too much – that is, we all have limits to what we can reasonably get through in terms of work or other tasks. Spreading ourselves too thinly is never a wise move and can create a number of significant problems.
  2. We should be thinking about prioritising. If it looks as though we can’t realistically get through all the tasks on the list, then we should at least make sure that we do the most important tasks first. That way, the tasks that don’t get done will be the least important ones. Sadly, it is not uncommon for people under pressure to fail to prioritise and to end up doing less important tasks, while the more important ones don’t get done. As you can imagine, this can be potentially disastrous.

So, there is no doubt that to do lists can be very valuable tools if used properly. But where does having a ‘Not to Do’ list come into the picture? Well, what you will find is that most people will do some things that are either not a useful thing to do or that are actually counterproductive.

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Time and Workload Management: An essential guide to managing a heavy workload

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Ways to support LGBT staff in the workplace

Stonewall, Britain’s leading charity for lesbian, gay, bi and trans equality, published a recent report revealing worrying trends in discrimination throughout the workplaces of Britain. The research, which was made public in April 2018, showed that “more than a third of LGBT staff (35 per cent) have hidden that they are LGBT at work for fear of discrimination.” Additionally, Stonewall found that “nearly two in five bi people (38 per cent) aren’t out to anyone at work.

Inclusivity should be a priority in all workplaces. Ensuring that each and every member of the team feels valued, appreciated and understood is of paramount importance, and there’s so much that businesses can do to make improvements in this area.

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A fresh look at social work theory and methods

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James Clear – How to get motivated when you don’t feel like it

You’ve probably noticed that it’s hard to be motivated all the time.

No matter what you are working on, there are bound to be days when you don’t feel like showing up. There will be workouts that you don’t feel like starting. There will be reports that you don’t feel like writing. There will be responsibilities that you don’t feel like handling. And there will be “off days” when your energy and emotions are in the gutter.

These fluctuations are part of life, and I face these motivational challenges just as much as the next person. However, for the important things in my life, I’ve also developed a system for dealing with these “off days.”

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If you’re a social worker come join us in the Social Work Focus Facebook group!

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Statement on Visit to the United Kingdom, by Professor Philip Alston, United Nations Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights

The UK is the world’s fifth largest economy, it contains many areas of immense wealth, its capital is a leading centre of global finance, its entrepreneurs are innovative and agile, and despite the current political turmoil, it has a system of government that rightly remains the envy of much of the world.  It thus seems patently unjust and contrary to British values that so many people are living in poverty. This is obvious to anyone who opens their eyes to see the immense growth in foodbanks and the queues waiting outside them, the people sleeping rough in the streets, the growth of homelessness, the sense of deep despair that leads even the Government to appoint a Minister for suicide prevention and civil society to report in depth on unheard of levels of loneliness and isolation. And local authorities, especially in England, which perform vital roles in providing a real social safety net have been gutted by a series of government policies. Libraries have closed in record numbers, community and youth centers have been shrunk and underfunded, public spaces and buildings including parks and recreation centers have been sold off. While the labour and housing markets provide the crucial backdrop, the focus of this report is on the contribution made by social security and related policies.

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Learn with Neil Thompson: Sign up to Neil’s YouTube channel

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New performance management research

This report looks at employers’ use of PM systems in different operational contexts. The purpose of different PM systems and the values underpinning them are explored, as are their various components and the design and implementation issues being encountered. An account of emerging trends in PM system design is also presented, with some of the important challenges that organisations currently face in this area being highlighted.

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Emotional Competence Learn to develop your emotional intelligence and resilience

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25% off Neil Thompson titles with code THOMPSON25

Neil Thompson is a highly respected writer and developer of online learning resources, with over 40 years’ experience in the people professions. His titles are firm favourites on the Red Globe Press Social Work list: from the popular guide to reflective practice (co-authored with Sue Thompson) The Critically Reflective Practitionerto specific explorations of complex ethical issues within the field of Social Work, such as Promoting EqualitySocial Problems and Social Justiceand Anti-Discriminatory Practice.

To celebrate 25 years of Neil Thompson’s publishing on the Red Globe Press Social Work list, they are offering 25% off all his titles when you use code THOMPSON25 at the checkout.

Click here to browse the range of titles and place an order

Not a textbook, a hands-on manual of practice guidance. An essential resource!

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Neil Thompson’s Lesson for Living – Don’t get trapped in a saying

Sayings can be very useful ways of briefly capturing important elements of wisdom. For example, the idea of ‘better safe than sorry’ has no doubt helped many people to avoid making rash decisions or launching into situations unprepared. So, they clearly have an important role to play as elements of whatever culture we are brought up in (different cultures will have different sayings, but there will, of course, be many common themes).

But, it isn’t all good news. This is because, for one thing, sayings can be contradictory. Compare ‘Out of sight, out of mind’ with ‘Absence makes the heart grow fonder’. Sayings therefore have limitations, and so we need to be careful and critical in how we use them. They are simplified representations of complex realities, so they can easily mislead us if we are not careful.

What can be particularly problematic is when a saying is used to justify unwise or unethical behaviour, and that is what I mean by ‘getting trapped’ in a saying – limiting ourselves to a very simplified understanding. For example, I have come across many occasions where people have used ‘Charity begins at home’ as an excuse for not supporting a worthy cause.

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How to Do Social Work: A basic guide from one of social work’s leading authors

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Mental health: Firms ask PM to deliver on pledge

Some of Britain’s biggest employers are pressing the government to honour a promise to give mental health the same status as physical health at work. Royal Mail and WH Smith are among the companies asking the PM to follow through on her manifesto pledge to update health and safety legislation. That would mean employers would have to provide appropriate training for staff to deal with mental ill-health.

About one in six of people at work have symptoms of a mental health condition. A government-commissioned review put the cost of those conditions, such as depression, anxiety or stress, to the economy at between £74bn and £99bn a year.

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Dealing with Stress: Important guidance on keeping stress at bay

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Standing ovation for Youth Parliament Commons speech

A Co Down student has caused a bit of a stir in the House of Commons with a rousing speech about homelessness. Cormac Savage, 15, was elected to the Youth Parliament in March and was selected to represent Northern Ireland in the House of Commons on Friday on the subject of homelessness.

The topic was selected by more than one million young people when the Youth Parliament was drawing up its priorities for the year. The GCSE student from St Patrick’s Grammar School, Downpatrick, received a standing ovation for his speech, in which he described himself as a feminist.

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The Avenue Professional Development Programme: Join Neil’s online tutorial group

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Seth Godin’s Blog – If what you’re doing isn’t working

Perhaps it’s time to do something else.

Not a new job, or a new city, but perhaps a different story.

A story about possibility and sufficiency. A story about connection and trust. A story about for and with, instead of at or to.

Bootstrapping your way to a new story about the world around you is one of the most difficult things you’ll ever do. Our current story was built piecemeal, over time, the result of vivid interactions and hard-fought lessons.

But if that story isn’t getting you where you need to go, then what’s it for?

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Facebook: Connect with Neil Thompson on Facebook

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What are human rights?

Human rights are the fundamental rights and freedoms that belong to every single one of us, anywhere in the world. Human rights apply no matter where you are from, what you believe in, or how you choose to live your life.

Human rights can never be taken away, but they can sometimes be restricted – for example if a person breaks the law, or in the interests of national security. These rights and freedoms are based on values like dignity, fairness, equality, respect and independence. But human rights are not just abstract concepts – they are defined and protected by law.

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Sociological insights to help understand people’s lives and their challenges

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25% off Neil Thompson titles with code THOMPSON25

Neil Thompson is a highly respected writer and developer of online learning resources, with over 40 years’ experience in the people professions. His titles are firm favourites on the Red Globe Press Social Work list: from the popular guide to reflective practice (co-authored with Sue Thompson) The Critically Reflective Practitionerto specific explorations of complex ethical issues within the field of Social Work, such as Promoting Equality, Social Problems and Social Justiceand Anti-Discriminatory Practice.

To celebrate 25 years of Neil Thompson’s publishing on the Red Globe Press Social Work list, they are offering 25% off all his titles when you use code THOMPSON25 at the checkout.

Click here to browse the range of titles and place an order

Time and Workload Management: An essential guide to managing a heavy workload

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Neil Thompson’s Lessons for Living: Beware of single cause explanations

As human beings we are very effective information processors. Our senses are exposed to a huge amount of data every minute we are awake. If you don’t believe me, just look around the room that you are in. Look at the colours, the shapes, the textures. Add to that what you can hear, what you can smell and what you can touch. And, of course, the raw data is just the surface – we also need to look below that surface to take account of the meanings we attach to each of those bits of sense data (and how those bits fit together to make a coherent whole).

So, on a daily basis we are processing and filtering a huge amount of information. In order to remain sane we need to be able to work out which bits of information are important to us and discard the rest, or at least put it to one side for now. We do that by processing the information through two sets of filters, rational and emotional. The rational filter tells us which bits of information matter to us in terms of what we are trying to do, whatever activity we are involved in. For example, if we are reading, as you are doing right now, we focus on the text in order to make sense of it and filter out other information – the keyboard if you are reading on a computer, and so on …

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The Professional Social Worker: An essential text for all social workers

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Policy and politics: Why care for the terminally ill needs to be a higher priority

When somebody becomes terminally ill and begins to approach the end of their life, they are likely to need various forms of care and help. They may also have aspirations and hopes for the time they have left. It can be a traumatic, challenging and complex time, but equally some people say they experience moments of great joy, often by being able to make the most of the time they have left.

To enable someone to live as well as possible for as long as possible they will need help with the relief of their physical symptoms and pain, but also support with emotional and spiritual needs. This will help them plan and give them the best chance of realising their wishes. To enable this to happen a number of people might have to be involved, including health and social care professionals, family members, and friends. We call this a palliative care approach.

Palliative care can support a person with any terminal illness and should begin from the point when they need it. For some that will be years from their death, but for others only weeks, days or even hours. We only have one chance to get this right, and either way it will make a lasting impression on all those who are left behind.

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Connect with Neil Thompson online! For Neil's blog and more resources

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Mental capital and wellbeing at work

Mental wellbeing at work is now top of the HR agenda in many private and public organisations, with the Office of National Statistics highlighting that stress, anxiety and depression is costing the UK economy 15.2 million sick days, with presenteeism (workers turning up to work ill or job dissatisfied but contributing little-added value in terms of their performance) estimated as twice as costly as absenteeism.

The OECD calculated that mental ill health costs the UK economy £70 billion per year, equivalent to 4.5% of GDP. These health and economic costs, together with the UK seventh in the G7 and 17th in the G20 countries in productivity per capita, make a clear human and financial case for businesses doing something about mental wellbeing. This is not just a problem in the UK, but in most developed countries, although the sources of a lack of wellbeing may be different.

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The Avenue Learning Centre Learning resources from Neil Thompson and colleagues

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The Why of work: Purpose and meaning really do matter

Why?

It’s a question all of us should ask ourselves. Why do we do what we do? In particular, why do we do the work that, for many of us, occupies most of our waking hours for our entire adult lives?

Ralph Waldo Emerson left us a quote worthy of one of those inspirational wall posters: “The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”

That thought may feel warm and fuzzy, but the question remains: Why do we do the work we do?

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Twitter: Follow Neil Thompson on Twitter

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Neil Thompson’s Lesson for Living – Develop recovery strategies

Perhaps in an ideal world things would never go wrong. But, of course, we don’t live in an ideal world, and things will inevitably go wrong from time to time for each and every one of us. We can do our best before we reach that point to try to make sure that any such problems are avoided or, if they do happen, that their impact is kept to a minimum. But, we can never guarantee that something will not go wrong somewhere along the line. Rising to the challenges of things going wrong is an important part of life, of course, and also offers us a significant source of learning.

So, where does that leave us? Well, this is where the idea of ‘recovery strategies’ comes in. A recovery strategy is a means of trying to rectify a situation that has gone awry, a way of putting things right or at least get as close to that as possible. In many situations, sadly, there cannot be a recovery strategy – that is, the situation is irrecoverable (for example, when someone dies).

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A Career in Social Work: Part biography, part overview of social work careers

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