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Government pledges support to social workers following care review

The government has pledged to increase support for social workers including on leadership, recruitment and retention and improved data sharing in response to the final report of the independent review of children’s social care.

The government set out initial new measures in response to recommendations in Josh MacAlister’s independent review of children’s social care, which looked at how children and their families interact with the care system and how it can be improved. The government also committed to implementing a new evidence-based framework for all the professionals working in children’s social care.

A new National Implementation Board of sector experts and people with experience of leading transformational change and the care system will also be established – a key recommendation from the review.

There will also be concerted efforts from the government to work with local authorities to recruit more foster carers.

Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi, said: “This is the start of a journey to change the culture and dramatically reform the children’s social care system.

“Everything we do to raise the outcomes for children and families must be backed by evidence. This report will be central in taking forward our ambition to ensure every child has a loving and stable home and we will continue working with experts and people who have experienced care to deliver change on the ground.

“We are ready to meet the challenge set by this review and I will set out my plans for bold and ambitious change in the coming months,” he added.

Nadhim Zahawi also revealed that seven areas of England will receive funding to set up family hubs which offer early help and intervention, in recognition of the importance of strong, joined up local services as a foundation for an improved social care system.

Local authorities will also receive funding for schemes that support vulnerable children to remain engaged in their education and strengthen links between social care and education.

Local authorities will also receive funding to continue delivering the Social Workers in Schools and Designated Safeguarding Lead Supervision programmes, building on successful pilots which have supported young people in schools since launching in September 2020.

In a bid to so support vulnerable children to remain engaged in their education and strengthen links between social care and education, local authorities will also receive funding in 2022/23 to continue schemes that put social workers onsite in schools and provide designated safeguarding leads with supervision from senior social workers.

The government also plans to:

Reframe and refocus the support social workers receive in the early part of their careers, particularly to enhance their skills and knowledge in child protection

Join up data from across the public sector to increase transparency – both between safeguarding partners and to the wider public, setting out more detail later this year

Develop a National Children’s Social Care Framework, setting direction for the system and highlighting the best available evidence to support families and protect children.

Children’s Commissioner for England Dame Rachel de Souza said: “The publication of Josh MacAlister’s Review of Children’s Social Care is an important opportunity for all of us working with, and for, children. We must grasp this unique moment to deliver ambitious reform, designed around children and families. A system that delivers so we can properly shift the dial on their experiences and outcomes.

“Whilst the publication of reviews is only ever the first stage in a process, and the ideas held in them only as good as their implementation, we must not underestimate the need to act – so many children’s lives and futures are at stake. Too many tell me they feel let down by the services designed to protect and support them, so let’s seize this chance to do better. We need everywhere to be as good as the best and we must have no tolerance for anything less than excellent.

“I look forward to doing whatever I can to make this much needed reform a reality. We owe it to England’s children,” she concluded.

#Respect4SocialWork calls for greater awareness and better support for social workers

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