Hackney children’s director Alan Wood has revealed he stands by the controversial comments he made about social work education, despite apologising for the language he used.
In a speech at the Association of Directors of Children’s Services (ADCS) Conference in Manchester, Wood expressed his regret for the comments, which were seen as undermining the quality of current social workers, explaining that his passion had landed him in hot water.
However, the outspoken ADCS president went on to say: “We don’t have a problem with a lack of social workers, we have a problem with a lack of quality social workers.”
In an interview with Community Care, Wood explained that it was the language and not the sentiment that he was sorry for.
“It’s not just me saying there is a problem with the quality of the students – there is a problem with the quality of the students through evidence of the data,” Wood said.
“In my speech I didn’t apologise for saying that, I apologised for using a word that put a fog around the issue,” he said. “There are some schools of social work which are not good enough, and you can tell that by looking at their outcomes.”
The Hackney boss, who pioneered the much-praised Hackney model of social work, is an advocate of schemes like Frontline, which aims to incentivise the best graduates to go into the profession.
“We should be unashamedly going after the best graduates,” he said. “We need to ensure we get the best graduates with the skills and aptitude to be social workers.”