Looser approach to role wins plaudits

The government’s less prescriptive approach to the director of
adult social services role – compared with the children’s
equivalent – has been praised by social care leaders.

John Dixon, joint chair of the Association of Directors of
Social Services’ disabilities committee, said it backed the
government’s decision to issue non-statutory draft guidance on the
role, alongside its adult green paper last week.

He said: “We have generally campaigned, and feel it’s been
successful, in not having too much prescription in the developments
around adults and the director role within it. There are ways in
which the children’s role is constrained because of the statutory

Under the Children Act 2004, directors of children’s services
have a statutory responsibility for children’s social services and

While directors of adult social services are also expected to
have wider duties than just social care, such as adult learning and
housing, the government has not made this compulsory.

But Dixon warned that councils would have to ensure that
children’s and adult services directors had equal status, following
Hampshire Council’s recent decision to advertise its children’s
post at £130,000 a year, £20,000 more than the adult

He added: “I think [Hampshire’s decision is] a misunderstanding
of the breadth of the role and its importance to local


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