The plan to transfer seven Department of Health programmes to
the Social Care Institute of Excellence has collapsed amid a war of
Although Scie and the DoH both admit that the deal was scuppered
by a conflict arising from the institute’s desire for independence
and the department’s insistence on retaining influence over the
programmes, there is agreement on little else.
Health minister Stephen Ladyman said the institute had “blown” a
chance to raise its standing and said it had always known – and
originally agreed to – the influence he wanted over the
However, Scie chief executive Bill Kilgallon said the
opportunity had been withdrawn by the DoH, which had “changed its
view on the process” while Scie had stood firm.
He added: “I have respect for Stephen Ladyman. I’m very
disappointed that he has been given that briefing by officials in
the department which doesn’t tally with our understanding of
The collapse of the plan to set up a care services improvement
partnership under Scie, including the National Institute for Mental
Health in England and six other schemes, again raises the question
of the status of social care within government.
Ladyman had portrayed the merger of the programmes into a
Scie-led partnership as a way to boost the standing of social
The roots of the breakdown date to the failure to appoint a
national director for the partnership after the post was advertised
Ladyman claimed Scie had “unilaterally” changed the agreed job
description. But Kilgallon said Scie had suggested revising it only
after the panel – which included Scie and DoH representatives – had
failed to find a suitable candidate.
“The only unilateral action has been by the DoH in not wanting
to continue with the proposal,” he said.
Ladyman said he would introduce proposals to merge the
programmes separately from Scie.