Letters to Community Care 8 April 2010

letter of the week ➔Keith Brumfill, strategy director, Children's Workforce Development Council e agree with Caroline Skinner that there is a need...

Welcome back to social work

At the CWDC we agree with Caroline Skinner that there is a need to harness the skills of qualified social workers who have taken a career break (letters, Community Care, 25 March).

That is why, in partnership with the Department for Children, Schools and Families, we at the Children’s Workforce Development Council developed a pilot scheme to help experienced social workers return to working with children and families.

This is in addition to our very successful Be the Difference social work recruitment campaign which has attracted more than 53,000 registrations since its launch last September.

The return-to-social work pilot offers advice and practical support, including refresher training workshops in current theory and practice, to enable people to update their skills and find work in a children and families setting.

More than 600 people have called us since the launch, and 117 have either completed or are taking a return-to-social work course.

If you are interested in getting involved with this programme, visit our website: http://www.cwdcouncil.org.uk/social-work/return

Keith Brumfill, strategy director, Children’s Workforce Development Council

Total Place is only part of the solution

Total Place can play a role in helping local authorities reduce costs and meet new obligations, such as the responsibility to commission education and training services for young people with disabilities and learning disabilities (news, 25 March, http://www.communitycare.co.uk/114148).

However, if councils are to provide effective provision for children with special educational needs, for example, Total Place must be complemented with other measures.

To prevent these children slipping through the net, councils need support to provide earlier and more accurate assessments of children’s needs.

Tony Reid, chief executive, Treloar Trust

Consider the needs of care employers

The government’s immediate funding boost of £48m for children’s social work (news, 25 March, http://www.communitycare.co.uk/114067) is welcome.

If the social work reform programme can succeed and adequately address the profession’s image we should begin to see an improvement in the retention and attraction of talented and skilled people.

However, we also need to consider the current needs of employers because any outcomes from this strategy won’t be immediate. We need to make sure that the Migration Advisory Committee’s exemption list is aligned with current requirements so employing workers from overseas is an option. We also need to do all that we can to keep people working within the industry so we don’t suffer further from the skills drain.

Paul Marriott, managing director, Hays Social Care

How Care Trust Plus will help Blackburn

We were pleased your article (Care Trust Conundrum, 11 March, https://www.communitycare.co.uk/113954) mentioning the positive changes that moving to a care trust brought for Torbay and Bexley.

However, your implication that Blackburn with Darwen’s decision to pursue a Care Trust Plus could be seen merely as an unnecessary structural change misses the point.

Here in Blackburn with Darwen we face some of the most challenging health problems in the country with people, on average, dying eight years earlier than those in more affluent areas. We need radical action.

The council and the NHS already work closely together. Two years ago we launched our unique £6m refresh programme, a joint initiative to offer free leisure services to everyone who lives, works or studies in the borough or whose GP is based here. The take-up and impact on people’s health and well-being, has been fantastic. However, to keep up the momentum, we need another radical change – hence the Care Trust Plus.

Not only does this bring together the £300m commissioning power of the NHS and Blackburn with Darwen Council, it enables the new organisation to deliver on shared outcomes.

This is the first care trust to go beyond simply health and social commissioning and fuse the NHS with local government and democratic accountability.

Our goal is to move from institutional care to personalised care through more risk-taking and radical solutions. It will also strengthen our relationship with residents by putting democracy at the heart of the NHS.

All three main political parties are represented on the new board through local councillors.

Graham Burgess, chief executive, Blackburn with Darwen Council

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