GP-style practices for adult care a turn-off for councils

Fewer than one in 10 councils in England expressed an interest in outsourcing adults' services to controversial GP-style social work practices, Community Care can reveal. Birmingham Council (pictured), whose application to become one of the pilots was successful, was among the few that bucked the trend. Picture: Rex Features

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Fewer than one in 10 councils in England expressed an interest in outsourcing adults’ services to controversial GP-style social work practices, Community Care can reveal.

A Freedom of Information request revealed that only 14 of England’s 152 local authorities have applied to take part in the pilot launched by the Department of Health in November 2010.

The two-year scheme would allow social workers to run services outside local authority control for specific groups of adults and their carers.

“Our plans will free up frontline social workers to do what they do best: help people maintain their independence,” care services minister Paul Burstow said in April.

Seven authorities were successful: Birmingham, Lambeth, Shropshire, Stoke-on-Trent, Suffolk and Surrey councils and the North East Lincolnshire Care Plus Trust.

A DH spokesperson said: “We did not have a quota in mind for the number of authorities interested in social work practices.

“We wanted a broad range of interest from local authorities as well as commitment to see this through. The seven successful bids give us both the range of services and the level of commitment that we were looking for.”

Earlier this month, the Department for Education hit back at claims that councils in England were not interested in social work practices for looked-after children.

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