The Liberal Democrats have backed the formation of a national college of social work ahead of today’s general election.
Nick Clegg’s party has confirmed it is “broadly supportive” of the proposal for a national college as outlined by the Labour-funded Social Work Task Force in its final report in December.
“We are acutely aware of the need to raise the profile of social workers and improve continuing professional development,” said a Lib Dem spokesperson.
Helga Pile, Unison’s national officer for social care, welcomed the news. “All parties need to recognise the importance of improving the public image of social work,” she said.
“Nobody wants the momentum built up around [the college] to fall apart. That would be a waste of the work that’s already been done.”
The Conservatives highlighted the importance of a “truly independent and heavyweight professional college” in their policy document Child Protection: Back to the Frontline in February.
However, neither the Lib Dems nor the Tories have said whether they would continue to fund a college if they came to power.
For the initial stage of its Social Work Task Force implementation plan, the government announced it would invest £2.5m in establishing the college, which would become self-funding after two years.