Social Work Task Force timeline

Key dates preceding and during the life of the Social Work Task Force

November 2008

Peter Connelly case triggers national outrage, after it emerges that the 13-month-old boy died at the hands of abusive carers despite 60 contacts with police, health and social workers. The Sun launches campaign to get Haringey social workers involved in the case sacked and banned from working with children.

December 2008

Emergency inspection of child protection services in Haringey reveals a catalogue of safeguarding failings including inconsistent quality of frontline practice and poor information recording and sharing. The Department for Children, Schools and Families’ 2020 Children and Young People’s Workforce Strategy recommends establishing a social work taskforce to advise on a comprehensive programme of reform. Ministers announce the formation of the Social Work Task Force to help improve recruitment, training, and the overall quality and status of the profession in England, to be chaired by Moira Gibb.

January 2009

Government asks taskforce to review electronic case-recording including a full evaluation of the integrated children’s system as a priority. Full membership of the taskforce announced with 15 experts including social work leaders, academics, charity representatives, and, controversially, The Sun’s Deidre Sanders.

March 2009

Lord Laming’s national review of child protection in England calls for an overhaul of social work training and management and finds children’s social workers suffer from “low staff morale, poor supervision, high case-loads, and under-resourcing”. Government accepts all recommendations.

May 2009

Taskforce issues call for evidence and outlines priorities in first interim report: weak leadership, lack of a national voice, poor IT support and excessive bureaucracy. Government pledges £58m towards improving training and support for children’s social workers in England in its formal response to Laming recommendations.

July 2009

Taskforce calls for the formation of a national college for social work in its second interim report. Also recommends a national career structure, action on supervision and workloads, and stronger partnerships between employers and universities. Children and families select committee of MPs issues calls for an overhaul of children’s social work training including a new Social Work Development Agency to drive up standards and streamline national bodies.

September 2009

Support programmes for newly-qualified social workers launched across England, overseen by the Children’s Workforce Development Council and Skills for Care.

November 2009

General Social Care Council slammed in highly critical review of its regulation of social workers’ conduct by the Council for Healthcare Regulatory Excellence, which recommends a new fitness to practise regime.

December 2009

Taskforce issues final report

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