A new grand vision for social care in the year 2020, under which
social work as we now know it will cease to exist, is to be
unveiled at the National Social Services Conference in Cardiff next
From Welfare to Wellbeing: The Future of Social Care
foresees a transformation in the roles of people working in social
care with a major realignment of professional boundaries.
This will include the creation of new professions: for example, one
covering young people combining youth and community work, social
work, adolescent mental health and careers services; and another
encompassing elements of nursing, occupational therapy, social work
and home support for older clients.
The document has been produced by left-of-centre think tank the
Institute for Public Policy Research, supported by the Association
of Directors of Social Services and Community Care.
It calls for a universal social care service with a more preventive
and community-based focus, arguing that the continued existence of
separate professions working closely with the same service groups
presents a “major barrier” to delivering more user-led services.
The training of the social care workforce of the future will have
to change, says the report, with the current emphasis on generic
skills and practice being replaced by a more specialised focus
around age-related groups. Staff shortages will compound this
trend, also leading to an increasing proportion of vocationally
qualified workers and fewer professionally qualified staff.
It adds: “We may see the emergence of social care administrators
who assess needs and co-ordinate services for the majority of
users, referring those with more complex needs on to a smaller
number of highly specialised practitioners.”
On the issue of care trusts, the report warns that, in the absence
of real evidence of their effectiveness and because of the threat
they pose to delivering holistic services, they should not be
rolled out across the country.
Other ideas floated in the report include an argument for making
local government responsible for commissioning health and social
care services, reorganising primary care trusts into smaller
provider trusts operating on contracts with the local authority.
The organisation also reiterates its call for the creation of a
separate agency focusing solely on child protection.
The report concedes that some in the field may view this new agenda
as “threatening” but it argues change is crucial to ensure social
care as a profession is seen by government and others as part of
the solution rather than part of the problem.
– From Welfare to Wellbeing: The Future of Social Care
from 0845 4589911