The Department for Education has announced two new appointments, including for the chair of new regulator Social Work England, aimed at working closely with the social work profession to share best practice.
Lord Kamlesh Patel of Bradford will chair Social Work England, the dedicated social work regulator. Patel, a former social worker at Bradford social services, is a Labour member of the House of Lords.
Social Work England will be a dedicated regulator setting the professional standards for social workers. Patel said of his appointment: “Supporting and sustaining good social workers requires a strong, confident and effective regulator, so I want Social Work England to not only lead the way in driving up standards, but also to work collaboratively with the profession to ensure that all standards are evidence-based, rooted in real experience and values, and are fit for the 21st Century.”
Education secretary Damian Hinds also announced that former children’s minister Edward Timpson will chair the Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel, responsible for overseeing reviews of serious child safeguarding cases which the panel deem to include complex or nationwide issues.
‘Further improvements’ to children’s social care
Alongside the two appointments, Hinds announced:
- New standards for qualified child and family social workers to follow, set out in the Knowledge and Skills Statements, after a consultation through a series of roundtable discussions around the country.
- Confirmation of grants for the remaining eight children’s services taking part in phases one and two of the national assessment and accreditation system for children and family social workers. The total grant funding for the 21 authorities is worth £3.5 million.
- The set-up of a board for the What Works Centre for Children’s Social Care and the testing of approaches to the development, sharing and adoption of evidence with a small number of councils.
He encouraged local areas to apply for a role as “early adopters” of the new safeguarding arrangements which place equal responsibility for keeping children safe on councils, police and health workers.