Social workers always seem to carry the can. Whether it’s the anti-adoption lobby criticising their interventions in the media, or their own regulator seeking to tackle poor practice, it’s the frontline practitioner who gets collared.
While in some cases it’s justifiable, it’s good to see developments this week that could redress the balance a little.
Many will enjoy reading about Lord Justice Wall’s admonishment of John Hemming MP over his increasingly inappropriate role in adoption cases.
But the more significant story is the GSCC seeking tougher powers of regulation over employers. It’s recognition that the conditions created by managers have a huge influence over the ability of social workers to do their jobs – and that these cultures aren’t necessarily picked up by the Commission for Social Care Inspection, which focuses on the performance of services.
There have been 36 hearings into individuals, but only one employer has been referred to the CSCI.
It is why Unison would like to see the Health and Social Care Bill amended to allow the GSCC to enforce their employer’s code of practice.
Nobody wants a more intrusive or duplicitous inspection regime but we won’t be able to affect practice in the longer term if we can’t address the management cultures driving frontline behaviour.
This article appeared in the 15 May issue under the headline “The heat is on employers”