The Children’s Workforce Development Council (CWDC) has allocated £8.5m to implementing the findings of Eileen Munro’s review of child protection.
The funding, which will be available from 3 October, is part of an £80m pot the government allocated to the CWDC for social work improvement in 2011 and 2012.
Government funding for the CWDC officially ends in March 2012, however, so this is not recurring money. The sector has expressed concerns about the high cost of Munro’s recommendations since the report was published.
Professor Keith Brown, director of the centre for post-qualifying social work at Bournemouth University, said Munro’s reforms would founder without longer-term funding.
“It’s got to be a longer-term plan than 12 months,” he said. “Training every children’s social worker in, for instance, reflective practice is going to take a minimum of three to four years.”
According to Brown, a module in reflective practice for one social worker costs £500 to £700. There are no official figures on the number of children’s social workers employed in England, but, if we assumed they accounted for about half the 85,000 social workers registered with the General Social Care Council, the cost of training them to the standard deemed necessary would be £20m-30m alone – far more than the £8.5m now promised.
As well as the funding, the CWDC said it would offer “specialist support” to help local authorities implement Munro’s recommendations.
A number of training events will be held for senior staff to help them in areas such as service reconfiguration and developing the role of a principal child and family social worker. These will be co-hosted by the CWDC, The College of Social Work and The Social Care Institute for Excellence.
The CWDC will also host a series of learning and development events for chairs of local safeguarding children boards.
“We are working closely with the government to support local authorities to deliver effective and locally-determined child protection,” said Keith Brumfitt, director of social work at the CWDC.
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