Social work squeeze

Surrey Council is to be congratulated on its proposal to create a family service. I realise Seebohm was over 30 years ago, but the changes brought in by that review were well thought out, had a clear aim to improve services to disadvantaged families, had the support of the social care workforce following widespread discussion, and saw the family as the most important unit to bring about lasting change.

Sadly the government’s latest children’s reform agenda does not have the same academic credentials, and no similar body of research attached to it. The consultation period has been limited and more a sales drive for the new ideas than a consultation. It also divorces many people – parents, carers, grandparents and childless adults – from the change by setting up the school up as “the community”.

I believe that separating the child’s world from the adult world will not improve children’s lives. This is partly because I am disheartened by the way the social work profession is being
squeezed out of the body politic, from one side by the move of adult social care into the NHS and from the other by social work with children being merged into an education-dominated
world of achievement and attainment.

Where are the social work values in these changes? As a recent needs-led assessment carried out in Medway by the NCH showed, this direction leads to the creation of an underclass with no investment in mainstream society.

I would not have seen Surrey Council as champions of the poor but, given their stance in bucking the current trends in local government, they should be.


More from Community Care

Comments are closed.