Directors of children’s services with education backgrounds are incapable of leading children’s social care services, the British Association of Social Workers has said.
The association believes only qualified social workers have the skills and experience needed to deliver high standards in areas such as child protection.
BASW’s withering assessment came in its response to the Department of Children, Schools and Families’ consultation on the roles and responsibilities of DCSs.
BASW raised concerns about the risk of focusing too heavily on universal services and said events at Haringey Council’s children’s services – whose former DCS, Sharon Shoesmith, was previously a director of education – had brought the issue to the fore.
Extra training “not the answer”
It said the government’s decision to send DCSs on training courses acknowledged the problem, but this policy was “not the remedy”.
A joint area review of the London borough following the Baby P case last year identified a series of failings in the management of safeguarding.
ADCS: better outcomes
The Association of Directors of Children’s Services refuted the analysis, and said the lives of England’s 11 million children had improved since the Children Act 2004 brought education and children’s social care into single directorates.
In a statement responding to BASW’s comments, alongside its own submission to the consultation, Maggie Atkinson, president of the ADCS, said the amalgamation had enabled teams of professionals to look at “the needs of the whole child”.
“This is not bureaucracy for the sake of it,” she said. “We see better outcomes for all children and children, and their families tell us that it is much easier for them to get the services they need.”
DCSF warns councils against single director of services