Press Release: IFSW Effective & Ethical Working Environments for Social Work the Responsibilities of Employers of Social Workers


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 The International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW) approved a new global guidance on the working environment for social work at its General Meeting in Stockholm, Sweden on 8 July 2012. Here is the full statement of ethical principles.

"The ability of social workers to practice effectively and ethically is significantly influenced by the working environment created by employers and managers in the agencies where they practice”, said IFSW President Gary Bailey. ‘That is why this groundbreaking guidance is so significant for service users (consumers, users, clients) and social workers alike.’

Social workers are frequently called on to balance the potentially conflicting needs and rights of service users, family members and the wider community alongside a range of other tensions in the social environment. In recognition of this complex role, and in order to protect the interests of service users, the wider community, agencies and social workers themselves, there is a need for agencies which provide social work services to have clear policies and statements which, among other things, acknowledge the tensions between service user needs and rights, professionalism and management considerations and political, economic and societal factors and to inform services users about what they have a right to expect of social work.

This policy provides guidelines regarding the working environment required for:

  • supporting effective and ethical practice;
  • managing work load and case management;
  • providing continuous professional development and an organisational environment of learning.