Social work will be at the heart of the government’s forthcoming adult care White Paper, with the profession’s role expected to switch from rationing care to community development, Paul Burstow has said.
Amid concern that social work is becoming an “optional extra” in adult social care, the care services minister rejected this possibility in a speech to yesterday’s launch of The College of Social Work.
“I don’t think that’s right,” he said. “I think social work must be a forethought and an essential part of the reform of adult social work.”
Burstow said this would be reflected in the forthcoming White Paper, which will set out how the government intends to reform adult care’s legal framework, funding and delivery.
“We’ll set out very clearly our view of the role that social work plays in adult social care,” he said. “It will be an opportunity to restate some of the key elements of supporting people’s autonomy and upholding human rights.”
He said he wanted social workers to move away from care management and “gatekeeping” resources, to community development roles, in which they would map networks of support in communities and connect older and disabled people to these.
Burstow was responding to an emerging College campaign to champion the role of adult social work, which it feels is being eclipsed by cuts, the ways in which some councils are implementing personalisation and the media profile of child protection work.
He added that the White Paper would also set out the government’s intentions for the role of chief social worker, a new post due to be appointed to later this year that will represent the profession in government across adults’ and children’s services.
More on how social workers in some areas are moving into community development
More on the launch of The College of Social Work