How global the IFSW global standards are? Exploring the penetration of Social Work referential guidelines into professional field
Since 2010, the International Federation of Social Work, together with the International Association of Schools of Social work and the International Council on Social Welfare, launched a Global Agenda for Social Work, which set up a number of goals and principles to which Social Work should aspire in order to achieve the central aims of social justice and development. The first cycle of this process (2012-2016) elected four main areas of attention: 1) Promoting social and economic equalities; 2) Promoting the dignity and worth of peoples; 3) Working toward environmental sustainability; and 4) Strengthening recognition of the importance of human relationships. In July, 2014 a first report was released on the progress of such agenda, namely the contribution for the reduction of social and economic inequalities, and have reached some conclusions based on examples of effective social work practices around the world. The world has been changing dramatically over the past few years with major consequences for the “European lifestyle”: the euro crisis, the austerity policies, the mass migrant and refugee movements, to name a few, emerges as new challenges for the global agenda and test the limits of social workers agency and power. But to what extent Portuguese Social Workers are aware of these challenges? How do they feel about the Global Agenda? Are they familiar with it? Do they emphasize any of the four main areas? To which of these do they feel more engaged in their daily practices? How have they been promoting these principles in the field? What kind of constraints, obstacles and limitations do they encounter when trying to put in practice such standards? Do they think there is any correspondence between those general principles and their daily professional practice? The purpose of this paper is to approach an answer to these questions by presenting the results of an exploratory research work with professionals, supervisors of social work practice placements, engaged in practice in the urban area of Lisbon. Data is being collected through an on-line survey and we expect will give us grounds to understand the penetration of the global agenda issues into the professional world, as well as its relation with practice daily realities in an European country under austerity.