New multi-agency staff plan to be piloted

New types of multi-agency worker are to be piloted in six local
authorities to support children and families teams,
writes Amy Taylor.

The “new types of worker”, which were first
announced by health secretary Alan Milburn in October 2002 and then
set out in the human resources development strategy grant for
2003-4, will work across different types of services in an attempt
to tackle the recruitment crisis in the sector.

Positions expected to be created include family support staff
and home care workers. Whether they will require any formal
qualifications is not yet clear, but president of the Association
of Directors of Social Services David Behan said he believed
anybody working with children should possess an NVQ level 1 or 2 in

“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 there was a need to
ensure specialist skills are focused in roles that need them,
adding that “better trained and better focused
children’s social workers” could receive pay rises in
the future.

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

The six pilot areas for 2003-2004 are to be announced in the
summer, and an open bidding process is set to take place for five
additional projects in each of the next two years.

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