A NEW regulatory body for social work will drive up standards and put the profession on par with high-status jobs in law and medicine, Education Secretary Nicky Morgan has announced.
The body will eventually replace the Health and Care Professions Council and will help to raise the quality of both children and adults social work by setting new standards for training.
A £100m investment will also result in over 3,000 graduates training to be social workers over the next five years – meaning by 2018 one in four newly qualified social workers in the UK will have joined child and family social work via the Government’s fast-track programmes.
Nicky Morgan, said: “Excellent social workers transform lives. These hard working, dedicated professionals have the ability not just to improve the circumstances of vulnerable children but to change them entirely.
“That is why supporting social workers, and giving them the tools they need, is a priority for this Government and a personal priority for me as Secretary of State.
“Our reforms are big and bold because we need the best people on the front-line, armed with the knowledge and skills to change lives.”
The various short-comings in local authority management of social care was explored thoroughly during the 2014 investigation into widespread child sex abuse in Rotherham.
The town’s MP Sarah Champion said she is naturally keen to see more social workers employed but there must also be cultural change within the profession so that case loads are bearable for staff and the reliance on agency workers comes to an end.
“I don’t know the number of students going in to study social work, but I do know many fail to complete the course,” said Ms Champion.
“Those that do qualify often have short careers as the pressures upon them, such as massive case loads, makes it very difficult for them to deliver the level of service they were trained for, plus unless there is good psychological support, provided people burn out early.”
“We also seem to have shifted to a blame culture, it’s always the social workers fault. As there have been cases where social workers have been publicly named when they are doing their best under very trying circumstances, I can see why not many stick around.”