The Conservatives have appointed Eileen Munro, professor of social policy at the London School of Economics, to consider how bureaucracy should be slashed in social work and child protection.
Munro takes up the post as the party launched a policy paper today pledging to strengthen the role of frontline social workers.
The party’s Social Work: Back to the Frontline paper also promised to publish serious case reviews in full so lessons can be learnt from cases such as the Edlington attack.
Proposals include: to help the sector recruit top graduates; allow social workers to run their own GP-style practices and create a chief social worker to give the profession a high profile public face.
The Conservatives also pledged to focus inspections more on practice, not just data analysis and to replace ContactPoint with a less onerous system targeting only the most vulnerable people
Shadow children’s minister Tim Loughton said: “Social work has been consumed by a bureaucratic obsession. It is time to shift the emphasis from management to the professionals who really matter – frontline social workers. “
Citing research into the workload of social workers by Community Care, Loughton added: “Anyone can see that social workers should not be spending 80% of their time on deskwork. We will send in the experts to sweep away unnecessary bureaucracy.”
Prof Munro, who will lead a panel of care experts reporting within six months of the election, said: “We urgently need to redress the balance between bureaucratic control and professional expertise so that we can learn to protect children better.”
The paper was launched on the 10th anniversary of the death of Victoria Climbié in Haringey with Mr Loughton due to speak at a memorial event in the Houses of Parliament.