Future of the workforce

A well attended plenary discussed the split between the children
and adults workforce and future developments.

Gail Tucker, chair of the British Association of Social Workers
independents’ forum, spoke of the need to preserve social
care professional identity and values under the pressure of
integration with health and education. One way to do this was to
involve clients in the planning, purchasing and developing of
services – what she termed “a true

She then outlined what she believed was the two main building
blocks of the new social care workforce:

• Professional identity – confidence in its values
and knowledge base backed up by registration and ongoing
professional learning and development.
• Professional organisations – their role in training,
learning and maintaining the professional identity.

She was confident that the social care workforce could meet the
challenge of change: “Most of us have become very adaptable
because of the massive organisational change that has gone

Ray Jones, director of Wiltshire social services, listed recent
developments that had benefited the workforce: registration,
degree, post qualification awards, continuing professional
development and social care staff training.

He said that the children and adult green papers represented the
coming together of several agendas such as political, policy and
personal development. In the green papers the workforce takes a
central role in assessing helping and developing key relationships
with clients.

Social workers should be confident about the future, he said,
although the division between the two green papers was creating
barriers between workers moving between both sets of services.

He also spoke of his own experience in Wiltshire of integration.
The council set up 20 sites around the county integrating health,
social services and occupational therapy and so on.  The benefits
were easy access, less chance of falling through safety nets and
better information sharing; overall greater co-ordinated and
comprehensive services. The impact on staff was improved
understanding of different professional roles and their own core
skills while there had been some redefinition of job roles and
creation of new ones.

Jeanette Pugh, director of the children’s workforce unit
at the Department for Education and Skills, said that the key issue
to both green papers was to improve the supply and recruitment of
social workers and to maintain stability of the workforce. This
would be done by training, learning and development of

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