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ADCS response: outcome of the child and family social worker...

John Pearce, ADCS President, said:

“We are pleased the Department for Education has published its response to the child and family social worker workforce consultation. This has been a very welcome process with strong engagement with ADCS and other sector bodies. ADCS has long raised the need for coordinated, national action to help manage the agency market so that it works for children and young people and ensures local authorities are able to employ a stable and sustainable workforce. There are positive outcomes in the government’s response that will help better manage the agency market and reduce churn. ADCS were very supportive of the full set of proposals consulted upon by the Department so whilst this is very positive progress it’s disappointing the original proposals have not been taken forward in their entirety.

“The proposal in regard to the use of project teams will bring much needed regulation to this area and we look forward to working with the Department on the statutory guidance that will follow. However, we have not seen any positive case for the use of project teams to undertake case holding social work and the original proposal to remove them from these activities would be clearer and in the best interests of children and young people. Case holding social work is not a short-term project, yet local authorities are reporting using more project teams that do not engage with the kind of long-term, relationship-based practice that children and families want and need. The current position we are in, with many agencies refusing to supply a single social worker to local authorities and instead offering a whole project team is unacceptable and costs local authorities significantly more money when budgets are already stretched. We hope that the national rules set out by the Department will go some way to easing these pressures and ensure project teams are solely used for projects in the future.

“We urge government to move at pace so that all bodies are working towards the same national rules. A growing number of local authorities have issued s114 notices in respect of their financial situation, and other local authorities are warning they are dangerously close to this. ADCS will continue to engage with government on the development of statutory guidance that will underpin the national rules. The guidance must ensure there are no loopholes that can be exploited so that our children and young people can benefit from a stable high quality workforce that can build relationships to make sustainable change.”


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