people

Liz Bruce, one of the founder members of ISWP, qualified as a Social Worker in 1974. Liz currently practices as a Social Care Consultant. She has worked with Adults and Older People and their Carers in both the Statutory and Voluntary Sectors for over 35 years. "We launched ISWP in January 2010 because it had become evident that there were a large number of older people and their relatives who were in need of professional social work advice and support which they were unable to access from traditional sources. I feel passionate about assisting people to find their own way through the complexities of the care system and empowering them to make informed choices and decisions about their current or future care before a crisis occurs, when so often, the decision about their care needs, or their relatives’ care is taken out of their hands."

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Nick Robinson qualified as a Social Worker in 1999. He has post-qualifying experience in a number of Local Authorities in teams providing assessment, care management, support planning and safeguarding for older people, adults with physical disabilities and vulnerable adults. In his Local Authority career, Nick was involved in pilot groups developing policy and practice for personal budgets and he is a trained and experienced support planner,  who maintains a keen interest in the progress of the personalisation reforms in adult social care. Prior to qualifying Nick worked in residential care with adults with severe learning disabilities. Through ISWP Nick provides independent assessments for adults and older people, expert witness reports for solicitors, support planning and service brokerage. Nick's area of expertise includes carers' rights, autistic spectrum disorders, Care Act eligibility and NHS Continuing Health Care.

Nick’s other professional interests include social work education. He is a fully qualified practice educator who enjoys his role as a supervisor and assessor of student social workers on placement. Nick is an associate lecturer who delivers teaching sessions on assessment skills; report writing, supervision, reflection and critical thinking skill and communicating with adults with specific needs on social work training courses at two north-west universities. Nick also delivers training sessions on the Care Act 2014.

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Gill Mason qualified as a Social Worker in 1985. She has worked in a number of local authority adult social care settings and is familiar with the mental health and social care sector. She has extensive experience in the assessment of care needs, care standards, support planning and reviews.

Gill has an interest in dementia and is a member of Dementia Care Matters. Gill has worked for 11 years in a dementia specialist multidisciplinary team. She currently works independently as an Approved Mental Health Professional and a Best Interests Assessor. Gill believes in promoting choice, dignity and respect for people who are vulnerable through mental or physical illness, long term disability or their role as a carer. She works with individual clients, families, carers and representatives.

Report writing and analytical skills, combined with ongoing training and research, contribute towards Gill's skills as an independent social worker.

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Monica Collings and Decision Tree. Monica Collings is an independent registered social worker and qualified trainer and one of the founder members of Decision Tree, which has a working affiliation with ISWP and operates in the Thames Valley, London and South East. Monica has worked in social care for over 25 years. She has extensive experience of working with individuals and their families, helping them make the adjustments and changes they want to bring improvements to their daily living. In addition she has trained social workers, managed teams of staff and undertaken national inspections. She has personal experience accessing social care services, as she has been the main carer for many years to members of her own family. Decision Tree was developed because she and colleagues noticed that people who had savings and independent financial means to pay for their own care had difficulty in obtaining independent professional social work advice when they needed it, and then had equal difficulty in finding and buying appropriate levels and types of care. With pressures on local social services to provide social work assessments and manage budgets, an increasing number of people were, and still are affected. Their contact with clients over the years has confirmed this to be the case, and they have been pleased to be able to offer a service which is responsive to clients before it reaches a crisis which will often save them money as well.

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Marcia Johnson's career in the social work setting spans 40 years, and, until December 2015, were spent with Cheshire County Council West and Chester Council. Prior to qualifying in 2000, Marcia worked as a Home Care Organiser and as an unqualified social worker in Adult Community Teams. She is a fully qualified Practice Educator and a DOLS Best Interest Assessor. She regards her area of expertise to include carers' rights, Care Act eligibilty, Mental Capacity Act and Deprivation of Liberty.

Her focus has been on assessment, service provision and case management, providing support to adults with physical disabilities, learning disabilities and older people in the community who present as vulnerable and in need of services. In this role she has been involved in Safeguarding Investigations, Mental Capacity Assessments and taking the lead in complex reviews and Best Interests Meetings. She has an extensive knowledge and experience in personal budgets, care standards, support planning and reviews.

She has proven ability in developing effective working relationships with service users and their carers, establishing networks between individuals, agencies and other professional disciplines.

Marcia is also a Practice Educator and she has supervised and assessed several Social Work Degree students on their final placement, working closely with the placing universities.

"These experiences have all contributed to enhancing my analytical and report writing abilities. i believe it is important to maintain high practice standards by prioritising my on-going professional development through training and personal supervision"

Marcia Johnson. Independent DOLS BIA Assessor. M-Jay Associates Ltd.

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