Regulate and decimate

When you’ve just bought a sandwich from Tesco, you’re unlikely to go out and buy the same flavour from Sainsbury’s. The task at hand – buying a sandwich – has been successfully achieved and, as long as you need only one, there’s little point in paying out twice.

The same can be said of regulation. Why should a social worker who has paid to be registered with the General Social Care Council then be expected to fork out again for an equivalent registration elsewhere? They shouldn’t but, under the Adoption Support Agencies and Adoption Agencies Regulations 2005, independent social workers registered with the GSCC could also be required to register – and pay for the privilege of doing so – with the Commission for Social Care Inspection.

Regulations intended to drive up standards may actually drive out skilled and dedicated practitioners. That is precisely what will happen if the government backs the CSCI’s view that self-employed social workers must register as small adoption support agencies. If independent social workers pull out of adoption support, it will undermine much that has been achieved since implementation of the Adoption and Children Act 2002.

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