Framework that lacks grounding

Omission of a mandatory timetable mars the
learning difficulties white paper, writes Ali Gardner.

Valuing People, the learning
difficulties white paper, sounded promising on paper. But while
some elements are beginning to reach fruition, the learning
disabilities awards framework seems to have confused us all and to
be lacking in solid grounding.

We are
one month into the date of registration for the framework but how
many agencies are taking any notice of this training initiative?
Agencies are being pulled in so many directions to meet government
targets that when it comes to the crunch, the initiative with the
smallest stick goes.

much discussion really takes place at Whitehall? Obviously not
enough to realise that if you impose conflicting demands on
agencies with inadequate funding, harsh decisions will have to be

discussions with social services departments and smaller
independent agencies, I received the following message. Induction
and foundation standards for the national care standards are
mandatory and backed by legislation in the form of the National
Care Standards Act 2000. The learning disabilities awards framework
induction and foundation standards, on the other hand, are
recommendations within the white paper. The target for April 2002
is ambiguous, and could easily be misinterpreted. It required
registration for the framework by 2002, but did not stipulate when
people had to embark on the programme, whether in fact they have
to, and what happens if they don’t.

at Stockport College we are working in partnership with Stockport
social services department and aim to have registered and
accredited 30 people with the induction units by December 2002 and
with the foundation units by February 2003.

Unfortunately, we are working in
a society where public agencies and independent social care
agencies can only afford to do the things they have to do, rather
than the things they feel they should do. The danger in this is
that more people with a genuine commitment to social care services
become disillusioned and leave the profession.

the government want a workforce that lacks initiative and
conviction in their beliefs? Newcomers to the service will never
have known a different way. They will come into services and when
told to jump will automatically ask “how high?”. At this point we
will see an end to social work based on values of respect, dignity
and choice of the individual.

Ali Gardner is a social work
lecturer at Stockport College.


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