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The General Council of Social Work in Spain has put in place measures and requested actions to protect residents.

Firstly, they have prepared guides and recommendations for social workers. All information is available on their website.

Secondly, the Council is collaborating with the Institute for Older People and Social Services (IMSERSO), which operates under the Ministry of Social Affairs. This collaboration is based upon advice from the State Group for Intervention in Social Emergencies (GEIES), which is made up of social workers who are experts in emergency situations from all regions. The Council is currently informing IMSERSO of any additional and unused residential resources across the different regions that can be used to support care provision to respond to the COVID-19 crisis.

Thirdly, the Council has requested that the Government puts in place measures to strengthen social care. The Council, with the help of regional professional bodies and social workers, has requested the Government adequate spaces and conditions for residents in centres of the public social services system and home care. Furthermore, the Council has requested the Government to provide protection to social workers for infection prevention.

Finally, the Council has insisted on the urgency of creating coordination structures between the different social agents (Social Services, Health, Red Cross, Education ...) within and between the regions to ensure they cover  citizens needs , especially the most deprived (homeless people, women with family responsibilities, lonely people, children with food needs, dependent elderly and disabled people).

The General Council of Social work has noted a number of impacts due to the COVID19

The biggest problem is the lack of human and material resources, and the difficulty in accessing the Social Services System.

The Council has asked that the Territorial Council of Social Services takes public measures of a social nature to tackle the pandemic and increase community resources. It is necessary to strengthen community Social Services to facilitate the necessary coverage of care home and community services.

The General Council of Social work has prepared the following documents:

  • Specific recommendations for social workers
  • Recommendations for the use and protection of personal data in health emergency situations.
  • Specific recommendations for the use and protection of personal data in Social Services.
  • Data protection guidelines and a “Frequently Asked Questions” tool.
  • Healthcare Social Work Emergency Plan.
  • Recommendations for telework.

In each region, each professional body has developed specific recommendations for its organisation and social workers. All information of interest to the profession is available on their website.

ESN has direct contact with the European Institutions. It is important that the Council recommendations are shared and there is coordination between countries to alleviate this serious situation. The practice and measures put forward by the Council could also be useful for other countries.

All the support from the European Institutions is necessary not only during the crisis, but also to strengthen the Social Services system after the crisis has finished. The roles of social work professionals and Social Services are essential during this emergency, but their roles will continue to be essential afterwards, since social services will have to support a larger number of people with greater social needs due to the COVID crisis. These needs may include loss of work, health problems, post-traumatic stress disorder, children at risk, among others. In Spain, the poverty rate has been high, but after this health crisis, it will be higher, because in these situations social inequalities become more accentuated