Axe falls on Children’s Workforce Development Council

The Children's Workforce Development Council is being scrapped as part of the government's bonfire of quangos, children's minister Sarah Teather (pictured) has announced.

The government is scrapping the Children’s Workforce Development Council as part of its bonfire of quangos.

Children’s minister Sarah Teather said the Department for Education was withdrawing all funding from the English skills council, which was launched in 2005 and receives around £150m a year from the government.

The DfE will take over the CWDC’s functions and it will lose its status as a non-departmental public body, but no timetable has been announced yet for the transfer.

In a letter to CWDC chair Paul Ennals confirming the decision, education secretary Michael Gove praised the hard work and dedication of the CWDC’s staff. He also acknowledged the body’s contribution in leading workforce reform and improving the life chances of children and young people.

Chief executive of the council Jane Haywood said the CWDC was “very disappointed” with the decision but intended to continue supporting the workforce as a sector skills body.

“In these challenging times, more than ever, employers need support to develop their workforce,” she said.

Matt Dunkley, vice-president of the Association of Directors of Children’s Services, said he was concerned that an “in-house” DfE workforce development service would not be as responsive to the needs of employers. 

“The CWDC has the needs of employers at the heart of its work,” he said. “Employers can influence the training available to meet the needs of local services and inform the level of need for that training.”

Bridget Robb, development manager of the British Association of Social Workers, praised the CWDC for its groundbreaking work in developing the children’s workforce,

But she added: “I’m not at all surprised that it’s losing its funding and non-departmental body status and that’s the right decision in the current climate”.

Robb singled out the CWDC’s programmes for newly qualified social workers and the “remodelling social work” pilots as excellent examples of innovation which had informed the work of the Social Work Reform Board.

“But these were always time-limited and it was inevitable they would come to an end,” she added.

The announcement follows a decision earlier this year by the Department of Health to scrap the General Social Care Council, whose functions are being transferred to the Health Professions Council by 2012.

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