WD September 2015 Update

The committee has not met since the last meeting of Council of Reference however the next meeting is imminent. The committee has been active over the summer in a number of areas of its remit. The committee supported the ‘Innovation Fund Speed Dating’ workshops at the annual conference, covering topics such as social work recruitment and retention; social work re-design; and creating multi-disciplinary teams.

The Chair of the committee attended the JSWEC conference (for social work educators) in July in the hope of cementing a better relationship between the committee and HEIs. Subjects for discussion were pre-and post-qualifying education and links between LAs and HEIs for research. The Chair is keen to continue to build on this relationship now established and also to establish a relationship with the Association of Professors of Social Work (APSW).

As part of the work focusing on recruitment and retention of social workers, ADCS members were asked to take part in a survey on caseloads for senior practitioners, social workers and newly qualified social workers to allow for some anonymous benchmarking and sharing of good practice examples. 38 local authorities responded to the survey and the responses are currently being analysed. The results of this will be discussed at the next meeting of the committee.

The committee submitted a formal response to the recent DfE consultation on the knowledge and skills statements for practice supervisors and practice leaders. The draft children, young people and families apprenticeship standards have also been subject to consultation over the summer and the responses are currently being analysed before the final standards are produced.

Following the last committee meeting in May, relationships with Health Education England (HEE) continue to develop and the Chair of the committee has now been invited to join the Children & Young People Advisory Group. This group will provide HEE with advice on strategic workforce planning and education development. ADCS representation will help to ensure synergy between the work of the committee and HEE in achieving joint ambitions.

At the committee’s next meeting on 25 September, it will welcome the Chief Social Worker for Children and Families to discuss the development of the assessment and accreditation processes which will underpin the knowledge and skills statements. The committee will also spend some time developing a forward plan, setting out priority work areas for the next 12 – 18 months, and discussing work taking place on the use of agency social workers.

The committee is very aware of the work that is being done in the regions to try to manage the market for agency social workers in order to bring down costs and improve quality. The committee is now trying to draw these independent strands of work together in the hope of supporting this work nationally in a way that will help all the regions, but particularly local authorities operating at the regional boundaries.

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