Disability Co-ordinator

There is an increasing acceptance that we have a responsibility for people who are unable to cope with ordinary life because of physical or sensory disability. It is accepted that everyone, no matter what their disadvantage, has the right to a quality life in the community. It applies to the aged, the infirm, anyone with mobility problems, those with learning difficulties and those who have problems with their sight or their hearing.  In addition, other categories of persons such as asylum seekers, political refugees who find it difficult to adapt to life in Britain are entitled to help from social services.  Service managers/co-ordinators are responsible for administering support systems that meet the needs of all kinds of disadvantaged people.

Work Environment
This is largely office-based, with some local, regional and national travel required to attend meetings and conferences. The standard working week is 37 hours including some anti-social shifts. A good deal of time is spent on the computer.

Daily Activities
The aim of the job is to ensure that appropriate and timely social work services are provided for everybody with physical and sensory disabilities. The role of the service manager is to make sure that this happens in collaboration with social workers, health professionals, other service managers, voluntary and independent organisations such as Age Concern, the Refugee Council and others. On a day-to-day basis the disability co-ordinator will:

  • supervise service team managers; 
  • plan strategic direction to the service and compile policy documents; 
  • ensure that an assessment and care management service is properly in place; 
  • prepare and monitor budgets; 
  • write reports; 
  • prepare contracts; 
  • chair meetings; 
  • monitor progress of service provision.

In developing the service, the manager will take responsibility for particular large issues like:

  • health action and welfare schemes for refugees, for example housing and benefits help for Kosovan refugees; 
  • employment and training projects for disabled people.

Co-ordinators work in teams - they are members of both the Disabilities Management Team and the Services Management Team - and on their own initiative. It is a challenging but rewarding job.

Skills & Interests
To be good at this job you would need to have:

  • a caring nature;
  • project management ability; 
  • a head for figures; 
  • confidence; 
  • an ability to get on with people from different backgrounds; 
  • good written and oral communication skills; 
  • an ability to analyse complex material.

Entry Requirements
It is essential to have a social work qualification or similar such as a diploma or degree in social work and possibly a management qualification. Several years experience as a social worker and team management is necessary too.
On-the-job training is provided as part of continuing professional development.

Future Prospects & Opportunities
This is a fairly narrow field with few avenues for promotion. However, with further training and management qualifications it is possible to move up the ladder to Head of Adult Services, Assistant Director and Director of Social Services.  There are opportunities for sideways moves into special project work which would give the sort of experience needed for promotion.  Outside local government there are opportunities in the voluntary sector.

Further Information & Services
Age Cymru www.ageuk.org.uk/cymru
Care Council for Wales www.ccwales.org.uk
Community Care www.communitycare.co.uk
Community Service Volunteers www.csv.org.uk/socialhealthcare
Department of Health www.dh.gov.uk
Disability Rights UK http://disabilityrightsuk.org/
Health & Care Professions Council www.hpc-uk.org
Homes & Communities Agency www.homesandcommunities.co.uk
Skills for Care www.skillsforcare.org.uk
Social Care Association www.socialcareassociation.co.uk
UK Disabled People's Council www.ukdpc.net/site
Welsh Refugee Council http://welshrefugeecouncil.org.uk

You may find further information about this area of work through Careers Wales (www.careerswales.com/) or in your local library, careers office or school careers library.

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