Action is being taken to address high vacancy rates and other problems in social work, children’s minister Tim Loughton has insisted.
In an article for Community Care, Loughton said Professor Eileen Munro’s review of social work was targeting bureaucracy while the establishment of the College of Social Work would enable the profession to take ownership of staff development and its reputation.
“I am determined to turn this around…the situation will not improve overnight but I am confident that the right steps are being taken to address the issues.”
In the meantime, English councils can now access a share of the £23m local social work improvement fund for children’s services promised in March.
Other programmes aimed at children’s services in England include the development of an advanced social work professional status, due to be launched by the Children’s Workforce Development Council next month. Keith Brumfitt, director of strategy at the CWDC described this as “a retention and reform measure to keep experienced people in frontline jobs so they can share their expertise”.
Alongside this, the Social Work Reform Board is working on a national career structure for all social workers.
It is also encouraging councils to undertake a “health check” of social work departments, which would include looking at vacancy rates and workload management.