Staff to be stripped of social work title

    Cumbria Council is being forced to cancel the contracts of 12
    experienced social workers because their qualifications fail to
    meet new regulations.

    The social workers – some of whom have worked for the council for
    25 years – are to be offered new jobs by the council but these are
    likely to be at a more junior level with reduced pay.

    The council said it had been forced to make the decision because
    the 12 workers’ qualifications were not recognised by the General
    Social Care Council as valid social work qualifications. From next
    April, all social workers in England will have to be registered
    with the GSCC to practise.

    Mark Clifford, Cumbria social services’ Unison representative, said
    one of the workers had a degree in social work and welfare studies
    while another had an MA in learning difficulties. He said they
    would not accept lower paid jobs and called on the council to
    continue employing them in their current roles but without the
    title of social worker.

    However, Stephen Wilds, interim director of Cumbria social
    services, said allowing them to do the same job was not an option.

    “We would be acting outside the law. We can’t redesignate them and
    let them carry on doing social work to get around the [Care
    Standards] Act,” he said.

    A GSCC spokesperson said the union plan would contravene the
    protection of title rules to be introduced under the act. She said
    the GSCC recognised 10 qualifications for entry to the register,
    some dating back to the 1960s.

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