Employers confront skills issue for more flexible children’s staff

    Well before the publication of the children’s Green Paper Every
    Child Matters in September 2003, there had been murmurings that the
    government wanted to develop a generic children’s worker whose
    skills would be transferable across different settings, writes
    Derren Hayes.

    While stopping short of specifically calling for this, Every
    Child Matters laid out plans for a more flexible children’s
    workforce: one where there was more co-ordination between different
    professionals.

    The Children’s Workforce Development Council, a new employer-led
    body set up to lead reform in the children’s workforce, has to turn
    this into reality. Representing workers in early years, educational
    welfare, Connexions, foster care and social care, the CWDC assesses
    whether qualifications in these areas meet national occupational
    standards.

    The fractured nature of the children’s workforce has made
    reforming employment regulations a difficult task. Defining it is
    not easy because there are so many routes into it – through
    education, social care, child care, youth work and the health
    service, all of which require different skills and training.

    “Even the professional languages they use are different,” says
    Liz Morrey, CWDC development director. “We need to be better at
    talking to each other. Silo working is one of the key criticisms of
    the sector.”

    Morrey says there will be more need for children’s staff to work
    collaboratively as multi-agency teams become more prevalent. This
    will lead to the development of core skills common to all
    children’s workers, greater recognition by employers of different
    qualifications and more joint training.

    The CWDC, which along with Topss England and the care councils
    of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland is to be one of the five
    constituent parts of the new sector skills council for care and
    development, will judge its work against improving outcomes for
    children.

    “The test [of its success] will be whether children and their
    families say the workforce is better equipped to meet their needs,”
    says Morrey.

    Social care employers and voluntary groups have given a cautious
    welcome to the CWDC. “I have reservations about diluting too much
    out of the social work role,” says Felicity Collier, chief
    executive of Baaf Adoption and Fostering. “While there will be
    common skills we need to ensure social workers have the skills and
    competence to do key things like assessments – we can’t expect
    everyone in the workforce to have these skills.” W ell before the
    publication of the children’s Green Paper Every Child Matters in
    September 2003, there had been murmurings that the government
    wanted to develop a generic children’s worker whose skills would be
    transferable across different settings, writes Derren Hayes.

    While stopping short of specifically calling for this, Every
    Child Matters laid out plans for a more flexible children’s
    workforce: one where there was more co-ordination between different
    professionals.

    The Children’s Workforce Development Council, a new employer-led
    body set up to lead reform in the children’s workforce, has to turn
    this into reality. Representing workers in early years, educational
    welfare, Connexions, foster care and social care, the CWDC assesses
    whether qualifications in these areas meet national occupational
    standards.

    The fractured nature of the children’s workforce has made
    reforming employment regulations a difficult task. Defining it is
    not easy because there are so many routes into it – through
    education, social care, child care, youth work and the health
    service, all of which require different skills and training.

    “Even the professional languages they use are different,” says
    Liz Morrey, CWDC development director. “We need to be better at
    talking to each other. Silo working is one of the key criticisms of
    the sector.”

    Morrey says there will be more need for children’s staff to work
    collaboratively as multi-agency teams become more prevalent. This
    will lead to the development of core skills common to all
    children’s workers, greater recognition by employers of different
    qualifications and more joint training.

    The CWDC, which along with Topss England and the care councils
    of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland is to be one of the five
    constituent parts of the new sector skills council for care and
    development, will judge its work against improving outcomes for
    children.

    “The test [of its success] will be whether children and their
    families say the workforce is better equipped to meet their needs,”
    says Morrey.

    Social care employers and voluntary groups have given a cautious
    welcome to the CWDC. “I have reservations about diluting too much
    out of the social work role,” says Felicity Collier, chief
    executive of Baaf Adoption and Fostering. “While there will be
    common skills we need to ensure social workers have the skills and
    competence to do key things like assessments – we can’t expect
    everyone in the workforce to have these skills.” W ell before the
    publication of the children’s Green Paper Every Child Matters in
    September 2003, there had been murmurings that the government
    wanted to develop a generic children’s worker whose skills would be
    transferable across different settings, writes Derren Hayes.

    While stopping short of specifically calling for this, Every
    Child Matters laid out plans for a more flexible children’s
    workforce: one where there was more co-ordination between different
    professionals.

    The Children’s Workforce Development Council, a new employer-led
    body set up to lead reform in the children’s workforce, has to turn
    this into reality. Representing workers in early years, educational
    welfare, Connexions, foster care and social care, the CWDC assesses
    whether qualifications in these areas meet national occupational
    standards.

    The fractured nature of the children’s workforce has made
    reforming employment regulations a difficult task. Defining it is
    not easy because there are so many routes into it – through
    education, social care, child care, youth work and the health
    service, all of which require different skills and training.

    “Even the professional languages they use are different,” says
    Liz Morrey, CWDC development director. “We need to be better at
    talking to each other. Silo working is one of the key criticisms of
    the sector.”

    Morrey says there will be more need for children’s staff to work
    collaboratively as multi-agency teams become more prevalent. This
    will lead to the development of core skills common to all
    children’s workers, greater recognition by employers of different
    qualifications and more joint training.

    The CWDC, which along with Topss England and the care councils
    of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland is to be one of the five
    constituent parts of the new sector skills council for care and
    development, will judge its work against improving outcomes for
    children.

    “The test [of its success] will be whether children and their
    families say the workforce is better equipped to meet their needs,”
    says Morrey.

    Social care employers and voluntary groups have given a cautious
    welcome to the CWDC. “I have reservations about diluting too much
    out of the social work role,” says Felicity Collier, chief
    executive of Baaf Adoption and Fostering. “While there will be
    common skills we need to ensure social workers have the skills and
    competence to do key things like assessments – we can’t expect
    everyone in the workforce to have these skills.”

    Children’s workforce Development council

    Responsibilities?  Approve any qualifications put
    forward by employers – this is currently the remit of the
    Qualifications and Curriculum Authority.

    Where, when and how many?  With its
    headquarters in Leeds and a satellite office in London, it will
    employ around 40 staff when it goes live in April. It will have a
    board of 20.

    Governance?  It currently has a shadow board
    chaired by National Children’s Bureau chief executive Paul Ennals.
    A consultation on how to recruit a new board of 20 is currently
    under way.

     

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