Whatever uncertainties social care faces, there is both statistical
and anecdotal evidence this week of significant improvements in
services, and outstanding practice by teams around the country.
The Community Care Awards provide a timely reminder that
social care skills, values and knowledge really do make the
difference in partnerships between agencies, ensuring we never view
our fellow citizens solely in terms of their medical diagnosis,
their educational attainment, or whether or not they commit an
Even more important is the significant improvement in social
services star ratings. By making such strides despite a year of
intense challenges and continued under-resourcing, social services
departments have shown a degree of flexibility, and willingness to
learn and change, which are almost unique in the public sector.
Of course, according to ministers, it’s too late to argue that this
might indicate the need for local autonomy over how children’s
trusts and the new post of children’s services director fit in with
existing local structures.
But it is obvious that social services departments are not
dinosaurs, with little to teach the more adaptable bodies that
succeed them. On the contrary, they are the cradle of values and
skills that are vital – not just for adults, or just for children,
but for us all.