Education secretary Michael Gove has defended the government’s record in children’s social work after Labour accused him of failing the profession.
Shadow education secretary Ed Balls told Community Care that the coalition government’s “reckless” public spending cuts were damaging morale within the sector and putting vital reforms at risk. Balls, children’s secretary in the last Labour government, also attacked Gove for failing to show “visible leadership” in children’s social work.
But Gove pledged his full support to children’s minister Tim Loughton, who has responsibility for social work reform in the Department for Education.
“Ed Balls might not have trusted his ministers to do a good job but the secretary of state certainly does,” a spokesperson for Gove said.
“Having held the brief for social workers and child protection since 2001, Tim Loughton is highly experienced and is already doing an outstanding job. He has achieved more in the past 100 days than Ed Balls ever did.”
Gove also rejected Balls’s claim that the decision to publish serious case reviews in full was misguided.
The spokesperson said this policy “will go a huge way to ensuring transparency and improvements in social work and child protection. Ed Balls said it could never be done. The minister has already published one and there will be many more.”
Earlier this week Community Care revealed that social worker vacancy rates had increased over the past year, despite the millions of pounds pumped into staff recruitment and reforming the profession.
Loughton announced a review of child protection and bureaucracy in social work in June, which is being led by Professor Eileen Munro.
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