Sixty Second Interview with Estelle Morris
Estelle Morris was last week appointed as chair of the Children’s Workforce Development Council.
What will your new role as chair of the Children’s Workforce Development Council entail?
To work with the now chief executive and the Board to make sure our ambitions for those who work in the sector are fulfilled and that the way society supports children improves as a result.
What will be your initial priorities in the role?
To settle in and meet everyone, especially in the area where I have least experience. The council has to become in the first 12 months a credible force for change.
You have described your ambition as a “huge challenge” which would require increased investment in training across social care, childcare and early years.
a) How much increased investment is needed?
It’s not for me to say how much money is needed – that’s for the council.
b) Where will this come from?
The government has provided a good starting fund and we will have to prove that we use public funds well. I am sure we will ask for more!
How do you intend to raise the status of social care professionals?
By talking about the strengths and being prepared to face up to the weaknesses.
Will you be doing any media work to try and tackle the negative slant that the national media very often attaches to social work professionals and their jobs?
Yes, where it is necessary but explaining the sector’s role and its importance is a job for us all.
What will you do to ensure social care is an attractive career option for both men and younger people who are currently under represented in the workforce?
Society has to value it more than it does. Training needs to be an integral part of people’s careers and there must be clear routes for promotion and reward for those who do well. A similar change has been made in education.
How do you feel about Margaret Hodge’s departure from the DfES and Beverley Hughes’ appointment as minister for children?
Margaret did an excellent job but I know Bev. She’s able, committed and a good person and I’ll enjoy working with her.
What do you think about the low level of pay received by many frontline workers and what would you like to see happen in future regarding the pay of professionals?
Pay isn’t a matter for the council but some of it is too low. I’d like to see pay increases in return for reform.
What do you want to achieve during your time as chair of the CWDC?
To help begin to change that bit of the world that is children and those who work with them. We ought to be ambitious!