Full text of Jacqui Smith`s speech to Community Care Live 2002

Health minister Jacqui Smith’s speech at Community Care
Live 2002:

Thank you for inviting me to speak here today and I think that I
am first of two Ministers attending over the next three days. This
isn’t surprising, because it is clear that this government cannot
deliver on our promises – on NHS or wider social issues such as
education and youth crime – without the help of people like

You are at the centre of change in public services, not least
because you operate in so many different areas – prisons,
hospitals, community mental health teams, schools as well as social
services departments, residential care homes, day centres and in
service users’ own homes themselves.

When you hear about a new initiative on street crime on the
news, or read about a new approach to education in the paper – you
will know that social care staff will be working, together with
other dedicated professionals, to make sure those changes happen.
This puts social care staff right in the mainstream of Government
policy – your roles have never been more important.

But, the nature of the way that we need to work to tackle these
social problems means that social care workers will increasingly
need to work in new ways, in new places, with new management and
with new partners. That makes it likely that there will be changes
in organisational structures at a local level. Not because change
is an end in itself, but because problems don’t fit neatly into
administrative boundaries. Whether it’s the care needed by an older
person, tackling truancy, youth crime or homelessness, protecting a
vulnerable child or helping a disabled person to live
independently, social care workers have a vital role to play, but
they can’t do it on their own. I want to return to the challenge of
building new partnerships later.

I also understand that there have been too many times in the
past when you’ve been told to do more or to do things differently
without the money to fund the work. That’s why when the Chancellor
announced more money for the Health Service in his Budget, he also
announced a historic increase for local government social

Some people have chosen to talk this increase down. I just ask
you to compare the6% annual real terms increase promised for the
next three years to the 3% annual average since 1997 and a rate of
0. 1% between 1992 and 1997. This is a real spending boost and it
will make a real difference.

But I know its not just about money – staff are also key to
delivering the quality services. And, together with employers, the
Government is working to tackle staff shortages in social care.
We’ve recently launched the second phase of our social work
recruitment campaign – in less than two weeks, we’ve had over five
and a half thousand calls to the helpline. This is on top of the
14,000 we had through the first phase.

But, of course, the real key to recruitment is what individual
employers do, at a local level. And so I’d like to encourage all of
you to use our web site, our posters, our booklets and our resource
pack – and do what makes sense for your organisation. Government
can provide some practical support to recruitment efforts, but we
just don’t have the local knowledge that you have – and that’s what
will make it work.

But there is one thing that we can help with – and that’s to
sort out training. Last year we set up a new fund – the Training
Strategy Implementation Fund – to help with the costs of training
Social care staff. This fund is managed by the National Training
Organisation for Social Care (TOPSS). It is available to all
employers in social care including those in the voluntary and
private sectors. There was £2 million in this fund last year
and it was used to support induction training using the Induction
Standards that TOPPS have produced.

This February I announced that the amount in the Training
Strategy Implementation Fund would be increasing to £15
million for this year, an increase of £13 million from
2001/02. This money will be used to support 26,500 staff to
undertake a range of training initiatives including induction
training, completion of the new Registered Managers (Adults) Level
4 NVQ award and improving NVQ structures by training staff to
become NVQ assessors, mentors and verifiers. By setting up that
strong NVQ infrastructure during 2002/03, employers will be able to
train their staff and managers during the following years and build
a culture of lifelong learning and continuous professional
development within social care.

The Department has also increased the amount available for
training in the Training Support Programme (TSP) by £10
million so that there is £57. 5 million available in 2002/03.
– paid to local councils to support the training of their social
care staff and those staff of voluntary and private employers who
are contracted to the council to provide statutory services.

Investing in training makes sense – not just because new Minimum
Standards will require a better trained workforce, but because
training our workforce gives a better service to our users and
builds social care as a career – where we will be more able to
attract people to jobs and keep them in those jobs

Social work degree curriculum announcement

For social workers, we will be introducing a three year degree
qualification – putting social work on a par with other graduate
professions. I am pleased to announce today the Requirements for
Social Work Training, which will be published this week on the DH
website. With the National Occupational Standards for social work
produced by TOPSS and the Subject Benchmark statement for social
work, published by the QAA, they will make up the prescribed
curriculum. All social work students will in future have to
demonstrate their knowledge of law, human growth and development,
their communication skills and their ability to work confidently
and effectively with other professionals.

I’ve said previously on the subject of training, I trained as a
teacher when there was insufficient rigour in the courses, when
theory and practice were delivered as two separate strands and when
opportunities to learn in real schools were too limited. This
government has addressed many of these concerns in teacher training
and I am determined that we will address them in social work
training. Social work, like teaching, is a very practical job. It
is about protecting people and changing their lives, not about
being able to give a fluent and theoretical explanation of why they
got into difficulties in the first place. New degree courses must
ensure that theory and research directly informs and supports

That is why students will spend a minimum of 200 days learning
in practice settings. We will set up a Task Force to increase the
quality and quantity of practice placements. It will work with
employers and higher educational institutions to make sure that at
local, regional and national level employers are providing enough
high quality practice placements to train tomorrow’s social
workers. Training tomorrow’s workforce is an essential part of
delivering a good quality service. We have now included this as
part of the performance monitoring for employers.

We will undertake a full review of funding of practice learning
and will announce the outcome of this review early next year.
Commission for Social Care Inspection (CSCI) All these extra
resources, especially those provided by the 2002 Budget, need to be
backed by new mechanisms to ensure that the public gets the best
value for money. Where more resources are going in people have the
right to know what they are getting out. We are therefore
strengthening the system of inspection and audit to improve
accountability to service users and the public. For social care
this will mean the creation of the Commission for Social Care

It will, for the first time, provide a truly independent way of
assessing performance across the social care field. It will, again
for the first time, mean that there is only one body regulating
social care provision. And, it will help service-users to
understand more about the services that they use and managers to
know where they need to focus their attention.

The Commission will bring together the inspection functions of
SSI and the NCSC, including the regulation of social care
providers. So, what will this new body do? It will: carry out local
inspections of all social care organisations – public, private, and
voluntary – against national standards and publish reports register
services that meet national minimum standards carry out inspections
of statutory social service provision over and above what is
already provided, publish an annual report to Parliament on
national progress on social care and an analysis of where resources
have been spent validate all published performance assessment
statistics on social care publish the star ratings for social
services authorities.

This is not a ‘takeover’ of the NCSC. It is a strengthening of
it in a new organisation that combines the functions of the NCSC
and the SSI. It makes much more sense to have just one body
inspecting and regulating social care providers – not just for you,
but for the organisation itself. And I know that these sort of big,
structural changes can be confusing, as well as exciting. But I
believe this is the best way to make sure that service users get a
high quality service, no matter who provides it.

I started by talking about the new ways of ensuring that
boundaries between services can be broken down for the benefit of
those we are here to serve. In particular, we need you to help us
meet the challenge of breaking down the wall that has for too long
existed between health and social care. As Alan Milburn has made
clear, we believe that health and social services are two sides of
the same coin. The one relies on the other. The patient relies on
both. Healthcare is not only about hospitals. It is just as much
about increasing mobility for someone who has come home from
hospital, or a child with learning disabilities receiving speech
and language therapy, as it is about emergency services and life
saving operations in hospitals.

Social care professionals have much to teach health workers
about being user centred. I believe that social services does have
a special approach which the NHS can learn from, an approach that
should be nurtured and maintained. But I also believe that social
services can learn from the NHS.

The best way in which health and social services can work
together and learn from each other is through partnership, whether
it be Section 31 partnership arrangements or Care Trusts. Using
pooled budgets, lead commissioning and integrated provision, sites
across the country are providing better care in mental health,
children’s services, intermediate care, equipment services, and
drug and alcohol abuse services, to name but a few. We have already
been notified of over 100 sites that are using the flexibilities,
spending over £1bn and over half of these are led by local
authorities. We know that there are many more sites interested.

The 1st April saw the first four Care Trusts going live in
Bradford, Camden and Islington, Manchester and Northumberland and
another fifty sites have expressed an interest in joining the
National Network that we are setting up to explore the benefits of
Care Trust status. So there is good progress, but there are some
areas where the costs of failing to properly break down the divide
are too high and where we need to build incentives into the system
to ensure better joint working. Delayed transfers of care from
hospital aren’t just bad for the system, they are bad for the
mainly elderly people who are affected by them and who are denied
the support that they need.

This is why we are introducing extra resources for social
services to cover the costs of care for people whose discharge from
hospital is delayed and alongside that investment, a system of
cross-charging that will give councils very strong incentives to
ensure patients are not delayed in hospital, so they can use all
the new resources to provide new services. All the incentives in
the system will work towards social services and community health
services putting together an extended range of services in the
community to allow older people to receive the care they need which
maintains their independence.

The principles underlying this policy are that service-users
must come first and that councils and the NHS must both take
responsibility for ensuring that older people get the right care in
the right setting. We know that health and social care staff want
to plan and provide co-ordinated services for older people which
put the individual, not the system or the organisation, first. The
new approach will put in place the right incentives to make sure
that this happens.


In conclusion, there is no doubt that these are changing but, I
hope, exciting times for social care. This is a government that
puts building public services and tackling social exclusion at the
centre of its policies. We can’t do that without those of you
working within social care. It will mean working in new ways, it
will mean working with new partners. But in the end, it will mean
that we will all be more likely to achieve what we believe social
care is here to do – to transform the lives of the most vulnerable
people in our communities. That is a difference worth making.

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