"Reckless" public spending cuts are putting social work reforms at risk, the shadow education secretary Ed Balls has said.
In an exclusive interview with Community Care, Balls said that education secretary Michael Gove must accept his responsibilities to social work. "That means providing visible leadership so the Social Work Task Force's recommendations are implemented in full," said Balls.
"It also means ensuring the resources to support reform continue to be made available. The coalition government's reckless cuts to public spending put this at risk, but social work reform is an area where it is imperative they stick to existing funding commitments," added Balls.
Balls also accused the coalition government of making things worse for social workers who are struggling with increased referrals since the death of Baby P.
"Anxiety over the scale of their ideologically driven cuts to come from the Spending Review and their ill-judged decision to publish serious case reviews in full have increased pressures on social workers," said Balls.
Yesterday, Community Care revealed that social worker vacancy rates have increased over the past year, despite the millions of pounds pumped into staff recruitment and reforming the profession.
But Balls defended his record in office, claiming his £11m recruitment campaigns in the last two years had been a success. "Obviously we won't see the impact on vacancy rates straightaway," he said.
Gove publicly backed the recommendations of the taskforce in a statement to the House of Commons in June.
What do you think? Join the debate on CareSpace
Keep up to date with the latest developments in social care. Sign up to our daily and weekly emails
Special report on UK social worker vacancy rates and interactive map vacancy rates at your council