Social work employers in Scotland and Wales may face tighter regulation in order to improve support and working conditions for practitioners, in the wake of Lord Laming’s review of child protection in England.
The Welsh assembly government and Scottish government are weighing up the implications of Laming’s review of child protection, which recommended last month placing the employers’ code of practice in England on a statutory footing.
The Department for Children, Schools and Families accepted this along with all the other recommendations, and will issue a full response later this month.
Care councils call for tougher regime
The Care Council for Wales and Scottish Social Services Council are now calling for the employers’ codes in their countries to be tightened, with sanctions for managers who breach it.
A spokesperson for the CCW, which is lobbying the Welsh assembly government for the reform, said: “The context for the work of social care workers is all-important in enabling them to practise to the highest standards.”
Laming described the code as an important set of national standards for accountability and for the provision of support in the workplace.
Post-Baby P debate
The calls from the regulators follow months of debate in the sector about poor working conditions, sparked by the Baby P trial last November.
Laming identified “low staff morale, poor supervision, high caseloads, under-resourcing and inadequate training” in child protection teams in England.
Child protection reviews
The Welsh assembly government and Scottish government are reviewing child protection arrangements, with reports due this year.
A spokesperson for the Welsh assembly government said its review would consider calls to strengthen the employers’ code of practice.
The children’s minister for Scotland, Adam Ingram, said he would listen to any similar proposals from the SSSC.
Dominic MacAskill, head of local government for Unison in Wales, urged ministers to adopt the policy. “Social workers would be able to raise any concerns about lack of support from their employer with more confidence of having their concerns addressed,” he said.