News that the launch of the government's new care watchdog has
been postponed has been welcomed by members of the advisory group
charged with setting it up.
The General Social Care Council was originally due to commence
in April 2001, but earlier this week health minister John Hutton
put back the start date until October 2001.
Baroness Jill Pitkeathley, the chair of the advisory group
overseeing the creation of the council, is understood to have
written to Hutton requesting an extension to the deadline.
The announcement comes just a fortnight after Iain Gray, the
Scottish junior minister for community care, revealed that the
launch of the Scottish equivalent of the council was being put back
Advisory group members have welcomed the postponement, arguing
that the original timescale for its implementation was "impossibly
One member, who asked not to be named, said: "There's nothing
sinister about it. The council will still be going ahead as
planned. It's simply that things are taking much longer than
anticipated, like finding buildings and so on. To be honest the
original timescale was quite ridiculous anyway, so it hasn't come
as much of a surprise."
Ian Johnston, director of the British Association of Social
Workers and a member of the Scottish advisory group, said the
postponement was necessary.
He said: "It's an acknowledgement that this is a complex process
and we should try and get it right."