The government’s chief adviser on the safety of children has promised to push for better pay for child protection social workers.
Roger Singleton, who took up the post in April, told Community Care LIVE yesterday that pay was an issue that “cannot be dodged”, adding: “I will do my best to press this.”
Singleton, whose role was created following the publication of Lord Laming’s review of child protection in March, said national and local government argued over which was responsible for pay.
Government buck passing over pay
“The buck gets passed faster than that New Zealanders pass the ball. There has go to be, if we are really serious, a concerted effort.”
While Laming called on the government to protect budgets for child protection staffing and training to be protected in his report, the government said this was a matter for councils in its response to his review, published last week.
Its position drew fire from the Association of Directors of Children’s Services, who said more resources were needed for frontline services.
Greater national voice urged
In a keynote speech to yesterday’s conference, Singleton also said there needed to be a greater national voice for social workers, echoing the interim report of the Social Work Task Force, also published last week.
He added that children’s secretary Ed Balls had said that his office was bombarded daily with requests for meetings with teachers’ associations, but he had yet to have a single contact from a body representing social workers.
“There is a deafening silence,” said Singleton, adding that there was a “wonderful opportunity” for the British Association of Social Workers.
Balls criticised by BASW
However, BASW’s new chief executive, Hilton Dawson, has criticised Balls for failing to respond to the association’s requests for a meeting. The two men are due to meet on 3 July.
Dawson also wrote to prime minister Gordon Brown earlier this month, extolling the value to society of good social work and calling for politicians to back the profession.
As chief adviser, Singleton will produce an annual report to Parliament on the quality of safeguarding in England and advise and hold to account the new National Safeguarding Delivery Unit.
This will be established in July to co-ordinate the implementation of child protection policy, monitor standards and provide support where needed.