College calls on government to set up adult social work innovation fund

Equivalent to £130m children's services innovation fund needed to ensure adult social work 'not left behind', says College chair

College of Social Work chair Jo Cleary
College of Social Work chair Jo Cleary

The College of Social Work has called on the government to set up an adult social work equivalent to its £130m innovation fund for children’s social care.

The children’s programme, which is supported by £30m of Department of Education funding this year and a further £100m in 2015-16, backs pilot projects to test new ways of supporting vulnerable young people. Jo Cleary, chair of The College of Social Work, has asked care minister Norman Lamb to establish an equivalent for adult services with Department of Health funding.

Speaking at the College’s Care Act Conference, Cleary told Community Care that an adult social work fund was needed to ensure support for adults “is not left behind”. Lamb is considering the proposal but has yet to respond formally, she said.

“There have been some really exciting bids put forward for the children’s innovation fund but, as usual, there hasn’t been parity in terms of what’s happening in adults services,” said Cleary.

The introduction of the Care Act from next April means now is an “opportune time” to back innovation in adult social work, added Cleary. She pointed to adult social work practices and integrated work between GPs and social workers as examples of the type of projects that a fund could support.

“You look at what’s happening with the adult social work practice pilots and when I go round the country I can really sense there are some real ideas from social workers themselves that suggests we could be the answer to some issues and come up with some really creative solutions,” she said.

“I think it is time that the DH stepped up and said ‘we want to hear from social workers about their creativity and different ways of doing things’.”

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