Funding the Social Work Task Force’s reforms will not be possible from current budgets the Association of Directors of Children’s Services (ADCS) and the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (Adass) have warned.
While committing themselves to the 15 recommendations from the report, published today, a joint statement from the two associations pointed out that reform would not be “quick, cheap or easy”.
The recommendations – all of which have been accepted by ministers – include plans for employers to be held to national standards on supporting social workers, covering supervision, workload management and administrative support.
‘New responsibilities must be matched with resources’
“Placing new binding responsibilities on employers to provide supervision, support and a limit on numbers of cases must be matched with an increase in the resources available to meet those demands. The funding of social services is already under significant pressure- there is simply not the scope at a local level to meet the total resource demands of these recommendations, either in the short or longer terms,” the statement claimed.
While welcoming proposals to set up a national college of social work, which would be help raise the profile of social work and improve public perception, the directors cautioned against adding yet another body to the mix of those already regulating and inspecting social services.
College should trigger review of national bodies
Setting up the college should trigger a review of the expenditure and activity of all bodies involved in the regulatory process, they said.
The Department of Health is due to report shortly on a review of the roles of the General Social Care Council, Skills for Care and Social Care Institute for Excellence.
However, proposals to set up a national career structure for social workers were unequivocally welcomed by directors. “Supervision and clear career structures that allow for experienced professionals to stay in practice are key to addressing recruitment and retention problems. Directors will welcome steps to tackle poorly prepared students and ensure that all existing staff have the skills required to meet the demands of the role.”