Yesterday, Wednesday 6 July, the Guardian published a letter written by representatives of a number of social work bodies. Edward Timpson responds.
The letter wrongly criticises two sections of the Children and Social Work Bill - the clauses enabling the creation of a specialist regulator, and clauses on the power to innovate, which is all about supporting local authorities to innovate by testing radical new approaches to improving services.
In response, Minister Timpson wrote a letter which has been published by the Guardian today, 7 July, and is in full below.
Dear Sir / Madam,
We want to see great social work designed by the profession, as the authors of yesterday’s letter on the Children and Social Work Bill called for – but it is a shame they were so keen to voice ill-founded fears rather than engage with these reforms, which have widespread support.
The innovation clauses in the Children and Social Work Bill are there to allow great social workers to try out new approaches and be freed from limiting bureaucracy, all in the interests of achieving more for children. This agenda is set out in Putting Children First – the government’s vision for children’s social care excellence, published this week. There is absolutely no intention of allowing the delegation of child protection functions to profit making organisations, and in most circumstances, that would be illegal.
Our reforms to social work regulation are also about enabling the profession to achieve their ambitions for the people they serve. We are firmly committed to maintaining a single social work profession, and on driving the highest standards in work for both adults and children. The two Chief Social Workers have a central role in setting out the knowledge and skills social workers need for effective practice and a regulator with an undiluted focus on social work can have those standards in mind as they consider social work careers from initial education through to practice leadership. The new regulator will initially be established as an executive agency jointly supported by both the Department of Health and Department for Education and this will be reviewed after three years.
These proposals are an opportunity for social workers to influence and shape the standards and regulatory approach that are right for the profession, and most importantly, right for the people we serve.
Edward Timpson, Children and Families Minister
The Children and Social Work Bill is currently in Committee Stage, and has received widespread support.