Improving social care

A report in this morning’s Telegraph outlines Ed Balls’ plans to recruit 200 social workers, aiming for specifically for teachers and lawyers to improve the profession in the wake of several scandals surrounding the deaths of children under the watch of Councils. 

The review in to the Baby P case shone a light on the lack of social workers in the UK. In 2007, over 250,000 social work staff were employed across the country, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). So Mr Balls’ ‘recruitment drive’ would add - or replace - roughly 0.08 per cent to this workforce.

DCSF have also promised to aim for longer term recruitment to social work. Fundamental in this is sponsoring university places for those keen to take up social work. But immeasurably more important than the actual number of social workers is the need to ensure that the processes that are put in place are robust from the outset. Again in relation to Baby P, the Telegraph points out:

"The review concluded that if doctors, lawyers, police officers and social workers had adopted a more urgent, thorough and challenging approach, the case would have been stopped in its tracks at the first serious incident."

Mr Balls speaks later on today to the Association of Directors of Children's Services. One hopes that there are more substantial structural changes put in place as opposed to weak recruitment promises.     

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