Lynne Berry, chief executive of the General Social Care Council, describes a milestone week for social care

Every Monday begins with a management meeting. This week we started
with the reform of social work education, the plans for setting up
the IT system for the register, our business codes of conduct and

Devolution is a wonderful thing – and it takes a lot of work. We
have to be accountable to two parliaments and two assemblies and
the different needs of stakeholders in each country. But in drawing
up the codes of conduct, the words “legal loopholes” loom scarily
and we have accepted we need as much consistency as possible. So I
am in constant contact with my counterparts in the rest of the

A number of journalists attend our press
launch on their way to the Climbie hearings. Questions veer between
what are we going to do to ensure it won’t happen again to why we
bother with training when all that social workers need is common
sense… Journalists can clearly entertain several contradictory
ideas at once. As my interview schedule unfolds – 15 in the next 24
hours – journalists are shocked that the codes and the General
Social Care Council did not already exist. By 10.15pm on Radio
Four’s World Tonight a new theme has emerged:aren’t these codes
just obvious – too much motherhood and apple pie?

Back at the studio again around 6am to start a round of interviews
on most of the morning news programmes. The story was turning to
“incompetent social workers to be struck off the register” (not the
headline we wanted) but they are also interested that the council
has a majority of lay members – not a club of professionals. I also
work hard on the positives:the extraordinary difference social care
workers make to people’s lives and the importance of their work.
Outside the interviews, everyone goes into confessional mode. I
discover that virtually every presenter, reporter, cameraperson and
sound engineer had a brother, mother or cousin who worked in social
care. They started saying “they do good work don’t they” and
started to ask for the good news stories. Then they also point out
that news will always focus on the “rotten apples”. Ho hum. My
final interview follows a feature on the day in the life of a
London social worker. Her work at Tower Hamlets Council was shown
on the BBC Six o’Clock News in a positive light showing the
complexity of the work and the skill needed. The question to me was
“how was the GSCC going to support people to do this difficult
task?” I regard this as something of a result.

At long last I am able to make the announcement of the three senior
members of staff. The three directors are Mark Oakes, Chris
Pottinger and Mike Wardle. Having them in post will mean we can get
on establishing the regulatory framework, championing good
practice, and dealing robustly with misconduct. All we need now is
our chairperson – and we’re waiting eagerly for the prime
minister’s announcement.

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