Children and Social Work Act 2017: social work reforms become law

The Children and Social Work Bill has become an act of parliament after receiving Royal Assent this week

Picture: Patryk Kosmider/fotolia

A series of reforms to social work in England will become law after the Children and Social Work Bill received Royal Assent.

The legislation is now an act of parliament – the Children and Social Work Act 2017 – after the Queen gave it her formal approval.

The Act enshrines in law a series of changes to the social work profession, including:

  • The creation of a new organisation, Social Work England, to takeover from the HCPC as the profession’s regulator.
  • A requirement for the new regulator to obtain the education secretary’s approval for professional standards.
  • New powers for the education secretary to set ‘improvement standards’ for social workers, and introduce assessments for practitioners.

The legislation will also require councils to provide personal advisers to care leavers up to the age of 25.

The bill faced a rocky passage through parliament. The government bowed to pressure and scrapped a set of controversial clauses that offered councils the opportunity to seek exemptions from social care law.

Ministers also performed a u-turn on their initial plans for the new regulator for social workers to be government-controlled.

Community Care Inform Children subscribers can find a digest of the whole act here. The digest summarises the implications of each section of the act and notes when it comes into force.

Community Care Inform provides practice guidance, research, legal and learning resources for social workers. Find out here if your organisation is a member or email the helpdesk if you are interested in subscribing.

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20 Responses to Children and Social Work Act 2017: social work reforms become law

  1. londonboy May 2, 2017 at 11:22 am #

    ‘reforms’ is a bit strong – there is little in the way of an evidence base that proposals do very much except prepare the ground for ‘something’ – my guess is that the DfE envisage this as their ( slightly thwarted) goal for Children’s Services:-.

    – ‘performance criteria’ as objectives for children’s services, ( aka Corporate Parenting Principals )
    – responsibility for achieving these to be subcontracted out as ‘packages of work’ to all and sundry on a least cost basis.
    – Compliance checking by Ofsted and CQC

    so very slimmed down role for children’s services – basically about ‘procurement’ of products and services and ‘risk holding’ ( although many LAs may not know they cannot ‘de-risk’ corporate parenting or have any procurement skills unlike the companies who will win these contracts)
    – no role for values but lots of spin on that front as usual
    – Minister and DfE remain ‘squeaky clean’ and more of the mantra ‘somewhere something good is happening’ so everything is working out beautifully

    Well it has worked so well in Health – what is the problem?

    • Peter Endersby May 2, 2017 at 2:13 pm #

      This is also occurring apace in education where the same pattern of an increase in central control is connected with less and less responsibility. If this government doesn’t want to be responsible for anything then lets elect one that does.

      • londonboy May 3, 2017 at 2:34 pm #

        If this government doesn’t want to be responsible for anything then lets elect one that does.

        I’m with you there!

        • Debra Holden May 28, 2017 at 3:45 pm #

          well i’m pretty sure that’s not going to happen!
          we are global capitalists now weather we like it or not,
          even if the ‘left’ win power,
          we are trapped into the capitalist web?
          the greed of humanity has sunken its fangs into us and we are now drunk on its desire for profit and growth.
          Whilst we scramble away at trying to create enough wealth to take care of our families
          the corporations are dominating the landscape with regard to: finance,
          funds upon funds
          wealth only available as data.
          As we enter the age of robotics people WILL need to self manage
          the Japanese have an idea as they are miles ahead of us in their thinking about the future
          that acts of kindness to a neighbor buys you a credit to take care of an elderly parent.
          I can think of crafty ways in which that could be manipulated
          Education and health was designed to create a moderately educated workforce in fairly good health for industry
          now that the industrial revolution has truly ended
          robotics will replace humans
          so we need to think about how we stop social disorder
          another way of working
          possibly a new way

  2. londonboy May 2, 2017 at 11:27 am #

    Oh yes..The Minister and the DfE has no corporate parenting responsibility..the ultimate ‘de-risking’.

  3. Hilton Dawson May 2, 2017 at 12:23 pm #

    An Act of Parliament barely worthy of the name, or of Children or Social Work.
    Well done all those who worked so hard to make it inconsequential rather than obnoxious.
    A sort of epitaph for a Govt whose main concern about children has been to stop them coming unaccompanied from abroad while leaving so many in poverty at home – and not really caring two hoots anyway.

  4. maharg May 2, 2017 at 4:00 pm #

    O goodie somebody who doesn’t know about the job, telling people how to do a better job, using a invisible bar standards, and penalising individuals.

    Is that a Another Horse of the apocalypse, Privatisation, he should be well stapled with the other steeds, Poverty,War, Pestilence, Ignorance and famine

  5. Peter Kent May 2, 2017 at 7:43 pm #

    Why so many changes over recent years to the social work regulator? When will the next change take place?

    • Sharon Hughes May 4, 2017 at 8:47 pm #

      Every couple of years or so… no values or ethics understanding with any of them… all as useless at protecting the public or carrying out any real investigations. Just another joke. So glad I’m leaving the profession this time as I’m not jumping through any more hoops three degrees and 10 years cp work still not enough. They can stick it as I’m not colluding with child abuse

  6. A Man Called Horse May 3, 2017 at 10:48 am #

    Time to look for a new career if still young enough. Basically like people on benefits you will have to jump through hoops to stay employed as a Social worker by being accredited by KPMG very nice little earner for them! Fail and you will possibly face sanction, being sacked or downgraded in your own place of work, effectively creating a two tier workforce. Take note Agency Social workers if you have to pay for your own training likely will be expensive so as to force you back on to terrible Local Authority terms and conditions.

    THIS IS A SCAM by a Tory Government who don’t care about poor children and really hate social workers. You have been warned what to expect. The Education Secretary will now decide what training you need not the profession or your employer. Be afraid, be very afraid.

    • Sharon Hughes May 4, 2017 at 8:49 pm #

      Quite agree… I’m off

    • Denise May 8, 2017 at 3:27 pm #

      I totally agree with both you and Sharon, privatising these services will miss vital opportunities to save children and increase the fat pay cheque in a directors pocket.

      They do not give a toss about the kids.

  7. Margaret May 3, 2017 at 3:15 pm #

    lesson from not learning from our past – taken from Scrooge apologies if required

    Later, the Spirit of Social Workers past remind the government of its former insensitivity by hurling its own words back as they regards the appalling children of humanity, Ignorance and Want:
    They were a boy and girl. Yellow, meagre, ragged, scowling, wolfish; but prostrate, too, in their humility. Where graceful youth should have filled their features out, and touched them with its freshest tints, a stale and shrivelled hand, like that of age, had pinched and twisted them, and pulled them into shreds. Where angels might have sat enthroned devils lurked, and glared out menacing. No change, no degradation, no perversion of humanity, in any grade, through all the mysteries of wonderful creation, has monsters half so horrible and dread.
    The Prime Minister started back, appalled. Having them shown to him in this way, he tried to say they were fine children, but the words choked themselves, rather than be parties to a lie of such enormous magnitude.
    “Social Workers past, are they yours?” The Prime minister could say no more.
    “They are Man’s,” said the Spirit of Social Workers past looking down upon them. “And they cling to us, appealing from their fathers. This boy is Ignorance. This girl is Want. Beware them both, and all of their degree; but most of all beware this boy, for on his brow I see that written which is Doom, unless the writing be erased. Deny it!” cried the Spirits of Social Workers past stretching out hands towards the city. “Slander those who tell it ye! Admit it for your factious purposes, and make it worse! And bide the end!”
    “Have they no refuge or resource?” cried The Prime Minister
    “Are there no sanctions, plans, training courses said the Spirit of Social Workers past turning on The Prime Minister for the last time with his own words. “Are there no ministers to tell them what not to do?”

  8. David Mortimer May 8, 2017 at 9:11 am #

    Privatizing who looks after children removes the safeguards which were put in place to protect them. The problem with UK child protection policies is they are not evidence based. The wording of the Children’s Act needs to be changed to require local authorities to collect information on child abuse perpetrators & use it to formulate evidence based child protection policies.

  9. Barry May 8, 2017 at 9:49 am #

    As previous contributors have correctly identified, this is nothing more than spin but with serious impact points on the people and workers who use and work in the public sector.

    Like Health , Housing, Education etc , etc, The Lie of Austerity is the driving force behind all policies of this very very nasty Tory Party. They have for throughout their political existence stood for business and the rich and have held in contempt any reforms that offer support to the proletariat. They see it as wasteful and attempt to re-direct taxes to the wealthy who err…. have made a fantastic job in running our world!! Ha ! Ha!

    Austerity is here to stay, leaving the profession doesn’t mean you good workers can escape it’s consequences! It will follow you wherever you go in life. The key is to Fightback! against these and all other measures- Join your Union(s) take control of them and together march on the attack to defeat them, kill off this system once and for all, We all have a professional , peersonal and political duty to stand up for those in our communities who are suffering dreadfully and me, you , your brother or Mam could be the next in the swathes who experience the iron fist and push us into poverty.

    NO CUTS!
    For a Fully Funded PUBLIC WELFARE SYSTEM!

    Unity, Barry x

    • Denise May 8, 2017 at 2:53 pm #

      Absolutely well said Barry,
      Standing up, becoming a voice, fighting back and joining a union are a must and we need to unite.


  10. David Ashcroft, AILC May 8, 2017 at 1:57 pm #

    Again – although the social work regulation clauses, and the concerns about exemption are vitally important – the potential implications of the abolition of local safeguarding children boards are not being recognised. Effective multi-agency partnerships will be replaced by three partners (LA, health and the police) devising their own plan for local arrangements which may not include all the others who help protect children, and may well result in an under-resourced, toothless and limited arrangement.

  11. Denise May 8, 2017 at 3:14 pm #

    It is unfortunate David that the LA, Health and Police can not cope with the workload they already have due to the cut-backs. I believe safeguarding children and child protection services will not be good enough to cope with the demand.

    • David Ashcroft, AILC May 10, 2017 at 12:29 pm #

      You are right. Even with goodwill there is a real danger of lowest common denominator for multi-agency work – everyone cuttting their cloth to the minimum and children losing out as a result.