Victory as government does U-turn on social care duties

The government has shelved plans to remove social care duties placed upon councils, after an outcry from Community Care readers.

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The government has shelved consultative plans to remove social care duties placed upon councils, after an outcry from Community Care readers.

In March, the Department for Communities and Local Government outraged MPs, social work leaders and peers when it launched a consultation reviewing all duties placed on local authorities, including in social care, with a view to slashing “burdens”.

Now, after more than 6,000 responses to the review, the plans have been dropped and the department has said any further action to reduce the “burdensome” duties on councils would be subject to a further consultation.

In a statement, Greg Clark, minister for decentralisation, said: “Many respondents focused on protecting vital services, such as support for disabled children and children with special educational needs.”

The department said media coverage and public campaigning had generated a lot of interest in protecting duties regarding children’s and young people’s services and adult social care.

Clark also implied that the removal of social care duties had never been under consideration. “For the avoidance of doubt, inclusion of a particular duty on the overall list was not an indication that the government was considering that duty for removal,” he said. “We said unequivocally that the government would not remove any statutory duties that protect vital frontline services.”

He added that the review did not seek to pre-empt the conclusions of the Law Commission inquiry into adult social care law and the Munro child protection review, both of which reported in May.

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