Principal social workers have rejected the idea of becoming financially independent from the government.
In a poll circulated by the joint chair of the children’s principal social workers’ network, Mandy Nightingale, 73% voted ‘yes’ to maintaining the status quo which sees the Department for Education funding administrative tasks and the annual conference for the network.
Not mature enough
Fellow joint chair, Lee Pardy-McLaughlin said the network was not mature enough to be independent.
“I think the principals social workers’ network is at a big crossroads,” he said. “Where we have made a difference is to local systems, but we haven’t made such a difference on a national level.
“We need to position ourselves locally, regionally and nationally and show what difference we are making.”
He added financial independence was an aspiration for the future.
Southwark principal social worker, Celia Parker, said the closure of the College of Social Work had been felt acutely by the network. She added it was possible original suggestions the network become self-funding may have been borne of a feeling of vulnerability to closure, as well as desire for independence.
However, she said she did not feel being funded by the DfE had any negative impact on the work of the network.
Nightingale reported a number of steps the new chairs had taken to cement the role of the PSW as a voice for the profession, including being part of a steering group on the development of social work accreditation with the DfE and KPMG.
She stated the aims of the network in the coming year were to engage with national policy and practice changes and share innovation and development opportunities amongst the network.