Labour promises social services registration

The Labour Party has pledged its support for a general social
services council.

Alan Milburn, the party’s community care spokesperson, said such
a regulatory change was overdue.

Speaking at an Assocation of Directors of Social Services
seminar earlier this week to mark 25 years of social services
departments, Milburn implied a GSSC would cover all social care
staff, not just qualified social workers.

‘Despite the heavy responsibilities social workers bear, there
is still no statutory regulatory body to which they and others in
social care are responsible for their standards and conduct,’ he

More work was needed on a regulatory body to ensure it did not
make demands on the taxpayer, he added.

His remarks came as the government prepared its response to two
projects on social services standards.

John Findlay, social services spokesperson for Unison and a
member of the GSSC implementation group, welcomed Milburn’s
commitment to a regulatory body.

‘This is a very important development. Unison welcomes his
comments because we are in favour of maintaining the highest
possible level of social work and social care. We welcome his
comments that it would cover all social work and social care.’

Milburn pledged national ‘quality standards’ for all social
services providers to offer under a Labour government. He said
Labour’s plans to end the internal market in the NHS would remove
the incentive for hospitals to discharge patients into the
community too early.

At the seminar, Association of Directors of Social Services
president Tad Kubisa renewed his call for a Royal Commission to
examine long-term social welfare issues.

He warned that increasingly social services departments were
picking up the problems caused by the withdrawal of provision by
other welfare agencies.

‘Only by creating genuine, collaborative and systematically
co-ordinated networks with other agencies will we be able to meet,
and accomplish, the tasks that face us,’ he said.By RACHEL

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