What does 2009 hold for the world of workforce? A raft of workforce announcements in December 2008 mean that the practical effects are yet to emerge, but there is a common theme of enhancing quality, says Andrew Mickel.
December’s Children and Young People’s Workforce Strategy pulled together recruitment (a graduate fast-track scheme and a media campaign to attract new recruits), better training (a framework of professional development and standards is being developed and the continuing Newly Qualified Social Worker pilot programme) and better leadership (by supporting and strengthening children’s directors).
However the changes in the strategy, says Jane Haywood, chief executive of the Children’s Workforce Development Council, are “dependent on what comes out of the Laming report [into child protection] in February; and then we’ll see where the Social Work Taskforce takes us to see what else has to be changed.”
The taskforce will examine social work in both children’s and adults’ departments to help improve the profession’s quality and status and boost recruitment and retention. It is due to report in the summer.
The adult workforce strategy is also due in the summer and Ian Johnston, chief executive of the British Association of Social Workers, says he would “like to see a move away from the gatekeeping role and working with eligibility criteria”, and is optimistic of more training for the workforce as “there is now a recognition that the social worker role needs to change”.
Elsewhere, the review of the roles of the General Social Care Council, the Social Care Institute for Excellence and Skills for Care is due early this year, and could potentially lead to structural changes for the organisations.
Registration of the social care workforce – flagged by the GSCC in August as the “single most pressing” workforce issue – is also due to continue to the next stage of registering home care workers over the next year.