Workforce plans offer change

The government’s response to the children’s workforce strategy outlines new career paths and an integrated qualifi cations framework for the whole profession. Lauren Revans reports

The government has confirmed plans to have an integrated qualifi cations framework covering the entire children’s workforce in place by 2010. According to the government’s response to the consultation on the children’s workforce strategy, the integrated framework will simplify the recruitment process for employers and open up career opportunities for people working with children to move up, across and between services and sectors. The response, published last month, also acknowledges the need to look at the implications of an integrated framework on future pay and conditions across the workforce. The Department for Education and Skills has asked the Children’s Workforce Development Council to consider this as part of a wider report on the impact of reward packages on recruitment and retention in different areas of children’s services.

Crucially, the framework will place a strong emphasis on supporting work-based routes into higher level jobs, including graduate-level roles. It will also better link up the core skills, knowledge and values required in frontline practice to those expected in supervisory, management and leadership roles. Over time, all qualifi cations brought together under the framework will include a common core of skills and knowledge.

“New career pathways, built on a more coherent set of qualifications, must be open to all in the workforce,” the amended workforce strategy states. “Everyone must share in the duty to safeguard and promote the welfare of children. Everyone must share in the duty to improve the well-being of children.” To support this, the government plans to publish revised guidance for
safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children across the children’s workforce in a new version of Working Together to Safeguard Children.

The strategy cites changes to the workforce as key to improving outcomes for children, young people and their families and to delivering the vision set out in Every Child Matters. It also  concedes that, in the process, changes to the types and remit of jobs across the workforce are inevitable.

“New roles and new ways of working within and across sectors will emerge,” it confi rms. “Delivering increasingly personalised support will require a different mix of skills, different  combinations and blends of expertise, with professionals, paraprofessionals and support staff working together in new teams and in different ways.”

Children’s workforce strategy: Building a world-class workforce for children, young people and families from  

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