Government backs Munro plan for chief social worker role

The government has backed "in principle" the appointment of a chief social worker to provide leadership across the whole profession.

The government has backed “in principle” the appointment of a chief social worker to provide leadership across the whole profession.

It follows the publication yesterday of Professor Eileen Munro’s final report on child protection, which recommended establishing the post to advise the government on children’s and adults’ services.

Munro’s review had been commissioned by the Department for Education, which is responsible for children’s social care. The College of Social Work backed her view that a chief officer should cover both adults’ and children’s services.

The Department of Health, which is responsible for adult social care, said it would discuss the proposal with the Department for Education.

“The Department of Health supports in principle the creation of a chief social worker covering adult services,” said a spokesperson.

“We are working with the DfE on a number of issues regarding the post, including the exact nature of the role, whether it is an advisory post, how it would relate to the role of the regulators, whether it would fit with the role of the department and so on.

“We also need to consider it in the light of the Law Commission review of adult social care legislation and the forthcoming White Paper on adult social care.”

Munro also proposed the creation of principal social worker roles for children and families to provide local leadership in each English council. The DH did not comment directly on whether these posts should be extended to adults’ services.

“We welcome the final report of this important critical review of child protection,” said the DH spokesperson. “We shall work with the Department for Education, other Government departments and stakeholders to develop the full Government response to Professor Munro’s recommendations.”

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