Tougher appraisal of councils needed

Social services’ performance assessment should include tougher training indicators to ensure departments focus on workforce development, an expert says.

John Wallace, spokesperson for Natopps-Learn to Care, which represents social care training managers, said councils had to be deterred from “messing about” with funding intended for training.

His comments followed a survey by the organisation showing that councils plan to spend less on social care training next year.

While three-quarters of councils retained all funding intended for workforce development in 2005-6, only 53 per cent say they will do likewise in 2006-7.

Ring-fencing for social services workforce development funding was removed at the start of this financial year, and almost half of councils surveyed said this should be reinstated.

The survey also said local authorities acted as a “conduit” for funding workforce development among private and voluntary providers. Councils contributed more than 300,000 on average, higher than the previous year.

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