GSCC given six months by DH to improve conduct system

The General Social Care Council has been given six months to turn its performance around in the wake of a damning report into its regulation of social workers’ conduct.

The Department of Health has told the GSCC it expects to see “significant operational improvements” by the end of March 2010, including the remaining backlog of conduct cases being cleared.

The regulator must provide monthly progress reports to the DH, health minister Phil Hope told the House of Commons in a written statement.

The government has placed the GSCC under special measures following a scathing review by the Council for Healthcare Regulatory Excellence, ordered by health secretary Andy Burnham after a backlog of 203 unallocated conduct cases came to light in July.

The report uncovered serious failings in the management of cases and the validity of information provided to the council and government about the GSCC’s performance. In addition, it said the backlog had existed for “many years”, and at one time stood at more than 700.

The DH has already set out a detailed response to the report, in which it notes “significant progress” has already been made since July in improving case management and strengthening the GSCC’s infrastructure in its conduct department.

However, Hope said government officials would be working closely with the GSCC to assist implementation of its recovery plan.

He added that he has asked the chair of the GSCC, Rosie Varley, to “personally oversee reform of the GSCC’s procedures” and report back to ministers in March 2010.

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