It would be “horrifyingly short-sighted” for any new government to cut funding for the social work reform programme, The Sun‘s agony aunt Deidre Sanders has warned.
Sanders, a member of the government-appointed Social Work Task Force in 2008-9, said whichever party wins today’s general election must sustain implementation of the taskforce’s recommendations.
“After all the public furore over Baby P, the taskforce painstakingly, and apolitically, arrived at a coherent strategy to raise the practice and morale of the whole profession and so make families safer,” she told Community Care.
“The work has begun and it would be horrifyingly short-sighted to see it as a quick and easy cut now. If ever there is a priority, surely the most vulnerable deserve the best protection?”
The Labour government established the taskforce in 2008 to conduct a “nuts and bolts” review of the profession after 17-month-old Peter Connelly, also known as Baby P, died at the hands of his mother and stepfather.
The appointment of Sanders to the taskforce panel caused great resentment among some Community Care readers after her newspaper led a major campaign against the social workers involved in the Baby Peter case.
But Sanders insisted she was committed to improving the profession, and wanted to build bridges between social work and the media.
Ministers accepted all 15 of the taskforce’s recommendations in December 2009, including the need for a national reform programme for social work in England.
The Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats also backed the taskforce’s recommendations, but said they would go even further with reforming the profession if they came to power.
The Sun switched its political allegiance to the Conservatives in September last year after more than a decade of supporting Labour.