Part 2 – Base Camp 1970

Base Camp 1970

For myself and John Osborne this is where it really began. He no doubt came to the Slough College HSF Beginner’s Course via Louise Dighton and the Probation Service. I came via David Savill from the Leadership course for clergy held there a few months earlier. There were many others present, some from that leadership course, but none of these, so far as I know, remained through the years ‘within the fold’ of active users.

John Osborne, I was to later discover, worked as a Senior Probation Officer at Grendon Underwood. Back then it was a comparatively new institution specialising as it did with addressing psychiatric problems. It still runs as such today I am glad to say – as can be seen from this tribute from Tribune in 2010. Prison Still Works, which appears to be confirmed by a recent inspectorate report in 2013

For David Savill, who ran the course (at that time vicar of Heston Parish Church) it was one of many he would be involved with up and down the country. I recall him saying a few years later that it was almost certain he had a hand in the training of every HSF practitioner in GB. While others spearheaded work in Seattle and Calgary, David Savill was instrumental in GB at the turn of the 1970’s.

Since this was a follow-up to the clergy leadership course I was able to persuade the Congregational Church HQ to pay for it – 8 sessions in all 7-9pm (from Friday 23rd October to Friday 11th December 1970) at Slough Tech and entitled “Introductory Course in Social Function Analysis”; all for the princely sum of £6.

I don’t think the course was given the name ‘Licence to Use’ until shortly afterwards but they were known as LTU’s courses and were designed to give enough of the basic HSF tenets for a person to purchase and use the Scales.

The blurb that went with it may be of interest since it shows where things were at in GB and North America.



Introductory Course in Social Function Analysis

In its Management Training courses for hospitals, voluntary organisations and churches, the College has now been using for some considerable time the most fruitful insights developed by Professor Eugene Heimler in the Hounslow Project.

Schools of Social Function now exist in the Universities of Calgary and California, and research work in this field is now taking place in this country in the Universities of Edinburgh, Glasgow and Surrey. The Canadian Government has commissioned a major training programme for social workers and administrators, and some local authorities and commercial organisations have taken a similar step in this country.

We are pleased to be one of the first colleges in Europe offering a training course. This first course is obviously of an introductory nature, but on successful completion of the course, members may be granted a license by the Institute of Social Function to use the Heimler Scale. It is hoped to promote courses for Associateship and Fellowship of the Institute at a later date.

This course is organised by the Department of Management, Slough College of Technology, in association with the Institute of Social Functioning. It should be of interest to Social Workers, Clergy, Teachers and all who have any responsibility for helping or counselling others.

The course of 8 sessions (my memory had thought 6 but it was in fact 8 making 32 hours in all) was as follows:


DATES:   Friday, 23rd October to Friday, 11th December, 1970 (inc).

PLACE:   Department of Management, Slough College of Technology.

TIMES:  7 p.m. – 9 p.m.

Session 1       Introduction. Orientation History of Social Functioning Initial interview with Client.

Session 2       The Heimler Scale of Social Function.  Basic details of administration. Discussion.

Session 3        Theoretical assumptions underlying the Scale. Application session.

Session 4       Interpretation of the Scale. Factors in interpretation. Examination of model scales.

Session 5       The scope of use of the Scale in Case Work and Counselling. Other applications education, industry, commerce, etc.

Session 6       Further discussion of administration of scale, and factors of interpretation. Further model scales.

Session 7       The “fragmenta vitae” in relation to the Heimler Scale of Social Function and counselling. Further discussion on theory and practice.

Session 8      Summary. Conclusions. The next steps.

FEES:    £6.0.0d. for the course.

LECTURERS:       Professor John Heimler will direct the course, and the Institute of Social Functioning will provide the lecturing staff.

Post Script

Great uncertainty surrounded using the Heimler Scale while on the course. Likely David purposefully fudged the issue. “Could we use one now?” Participants would ask the question of each other and have whispered responses that, “Yes, but keep quiet about it and just copy one off to use.” Debates behind the scenes about who could or could not administer the Scale and where and how make use of it would take place ad nauseam throughout the ensuing years.

More openly, warnings were issued about administering the Scale to loved ones. This was wise advice and is hopefully followed still. (Recipient thinks, “Now how shall I answer that without causing hurt, surprise, explanation…” Administrator thinks, “S/he can’t really mean that!” All manner of scenarios can take place, few if any of them satisfactory and many sowing seeds of alienation.)

That final session No. 8 would become the first time to meet John Heimler. The end of a beginning and the beginning of a never ending.

I was on my way – and could at least begin to tackle the sort of issues my church member had raised months before.