Cross-agency staff to support services

New types of multi-agency workers are to be piloted in six local
authorities to support children and families teams.

The “new types of worker”, announced by health secretary Alan
Milburn in October 2002 and set out in the human resources
development strategy grant for 2003-4, will work across children’s
services in health, education and social care to tackle recruitment

Positions expected to be created include those of family support
worker and home care worker. Whether they will need formal
qualifications is unclear, but David Behan, president of the
Association of Directors of Social Services, said he believed
anybody working with children should possess an NVQ level one or
two in care.

“There are specific tasks around safeguarding children that should
be done by qualified social workers but there are perhaps some
tasks that don’t need to be undertaken by a qualified social
worker. They could be undertaken by people with a more generic
background,” Behan said.

Health minister Jacqui Smith told directors that specialist skills
should be focused in roles that needed them, adding that “better
trained and better focused children’s social workers” could receive
pay rises in the future.

Behan said the government was looking at the development of generic
worker qualifications, training and trainee schemes.

The six pilot areas for 2003-4 are to be announced in the summer
and an open bidding process is to take place for five more projects
in each of the next two years.

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