Association to fold as directors plan separate adults and children groups

The Association of Directors of Social Services is to be dissolved, perhaps as soon as next year, with the creation of separate organisations for children’s and adults’ services.

The ADSS, the Confederation of Children’s Services Managers and the Association of Directors of Education and Children’s Services (Adecs) will combine to form an association to represent children’s services directors.

David Hawker, interim chair of Adecs, said he expected the new organisation to be created by the end of 2006.

This would leave an adult services body, which the ADSS said could go beyond social care “to take on the breadth of the well-being agenda”.

Hawker said the children’s services organisation would devote equal attention to education and social care and that it could also establish links with health professionals working in the field.

“We would want to talk to the NHS Confederation about managers in the health service having some sort of link with the organisation,” he said. “At the moment there aren’t many senior managers in the health services in children’s services but I expect that [number] to grow.”

The Local Government Association welcomed the move as a “sensible development”.

But Ian Johnston, director of the British Association of Social Workers, said he did not envisage BASW following the ADSS in splitting along adult-children lines. “There’s a common set of values that join our members whatever their specialism,” he said.

ADSS president Julie Jones and Confed vice-president Dr Robert Garnett said the organisations were having “exploratory talks which have as their clear objective the creation of a new organisation”.

The three bodies said they had recognised the “compelling need” for directors of children’s services to speak collectively on behalf of children’s services staff for some time.

The new association could cover managers as well as directors, mirroring structures in Confed, which represents education managers.

The ADSS said there would be a close connection between children’s and adult bodies.

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