Recent government proposals for reforming children’s services have
seriously undermined social services directors’ confidence in their
future, the Association of Directors of Social Services has
Almost half of respondents to an ADSS survey said that changes
outlined in the children’s green paper would make it less likely
they would be a senior social care manager in five years’ time –
although some concerns will have been partially addressed by the
more flexible Children Bill.
Nearly nine out of 10 directors working in social services
departments likely to combine with education said they would
consider leaving their job if an educationist got the top job of
director of children’s services with responsibility for all
education and child social services.
The survey of 95 of England’s 150 social services directors also
finds that only a third feel that combining children’s education
and welfare into one department will actually significantly improve
their ability to protect children from harm, while more than half
think it will not.
A recent Social Services Inspectorate report into the merged
children, schools and families department at Hertfordshire Council
highlighted inconsistent practice and casework that failed to
Department director John Harris, a former director of education,
said the report did not question the direction of travel of
children’s services and integration but did acknowledge that good
work “wasn’t as evident in child protection”.
He called on children’s services to remain focussed on outcomes for
children as they moved towards greater integration “as this is the
key test as to whether the changes have worked”.