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A New Year, A New Agency – A New Begining?

January 8, 2014

Welcoming us back from holidays was new letter head for a new agency – the Child and Family Agency. Is it just a new name or is it something more significant?


In the past, it has been gently suggested I try and be a little more positive, focus on the optimistic parts of the job, but being totally honest I don’t know if this is one of the (very few) optimistic parts of the job – equally I cant say that its not so I am keeping my mind open. Again being totally honest, I think it will take at least a year if not more to properly judge this new agency fairly and you shouldn’t really listen to any wild opinions in the meantime (including mine).


That said, I will now offer some rough thoughts and some wild opinions on the subject.


When he first arrived in this country Gordon Jeyes got himself in trouble for some frank remarks about the HSE and Social Work, in follow up interviews he did very well in spinning it to sound reasonable and displayed the sort of political skills you need to rise through the ranks. Since then he has been very quiet and said very little, even his emails to staff have stopped coming. I am optimistic that he has a clear and positive vision (as seen by his remarks), and the experience and skills to make it real (as seen by his political skills). This new agency gives him freedom to move and be more independent so I wait optimistically to see what he can do.


However there is much of the old HSE that has come over too, many people who some of us wish hadn’t, perhaps even some of the same attitudes and entrenched mindsets – the sorts of things that cause me to be more cynical. Equally the climate of austerity hasn’t changed, the impact the lack of funding has on the services we rely on hasn’t changed, the deficiencies of CORU haven’t changed, the wider social problems of the communities in which we work haven’t changed. The wider context in which we work hasn’t changed. These are the sorts of things that cause me to be more cynical.


Changing the name and changing a few people only wont make a difference, but for now I am waiting with cautious optimism that this new agency will be different, and that despite working within the same overall context, will produce in its own limited way better outcomes for our clients.


If we want these improvements to be more than limited we need to look at that wider context and work in whatever way we can, big or small, for positive change there too – even if it is beyond what we normally see as the social work role.








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