Conservatives’ social work group launches review

The Conservative Party today launched its policy review of the future of children’s social work. The National Children and Adult Services conference in Bournemouth was the setting for the launch.

The Social Workers’ Commission, chaired by shadow minister for children Tim Loughton, calls for a national recruitment campaign and a “high impact advertising campaign” to promote social work. The commission was set up last year to review the role, status and image of children’s practitioners.

The commission’s report, No More Blame Game – The Future for Children’s Social Workers, supports generic social work degrees and the newly qualified social worker status but proposes that degrees’ content should be reviewed and their length extended to four years to arm social workers with more knowledge.

It also calls for numerical adoption targets to be phased out and proposes that employers should fund the membership of professional bodies for all social workers in their first post-qualifying year. 

The report recommends that a chief social worker, employed by the Department of Health, should be enlisted to work across government departments, representative bodies and the media to “monitor the health of the profession” and promote social work in the media.

The commission also recommends re-introducing the consultant social worker, a senior practitioner who will help keep experienced social workers on the frontline. 

It also proposes establishing an “appropriate career and pay structure” to support practitioners who do not want to move into management.

Loughton said: “If we are truly to tackle the increasing problems of fragmenting families, child abuse and a broken society then it is essential that we have the professionals on the ground able to make a difference properly respected, motivated and resourced.  Not to do so would be a false economy.”

More information

Commission on Social Workers

Tim Loughton, shadow minister for children

National Children and Adult Services conference

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