Social workers ‘to be licensed’

Article Source: Health And Fitness Journal

Social workers will need a licence to practice, a report aimed at boosting standards and morale is to recommend.

Higher pay for the most experienced frontline staff is also proposed by the social work task force.

It was set up by the government a year ago after the death of Baby Peter at the hands of his mother, her boyfriend and their lodger.

The death of the 17-month-old in north London, who was known to be at risk, turned the spotlight on the profession.

Staff retention

To qualify for a licence to practise social workers will have to do a probationary year after completing a degree.

Employers will also be expected to agree standards on caseloads as well as to improve pay for the most experienced frontline staff.

And there will be a national college for social work to champion the profession.

The government has said it will accept the recommendations.

The Baby Peter case saw a picture emerging of a beleaguered profession, under attack when things go wrong, but often dealing with high caseloads and staff shortages, said BBC social affairs correspondent Alison Holt.

He died in 2007 with major injuries, including a broken back, sparking criticism of Haringey Council and the sacking of its director of children’s services.

The task-force wants to increase the morale and status of the profession with the aim of attracting and keeping more people in the job.

Chaired by chief executive of Camden Council Moira Gibb, the task force looked at the day-to-day responsibilities of social workers.

Among the issues it considered was how social workers prioritise their time, how they are supervised and what changes are needed to ensure appropriate numbers of front-line staff and support are provided for vulnerable children.

Our correspondent said local authorities and social workers are already asking whether there will be the money for the plans, and with an election looming, the political will to bring about real change.

The report is being published by the Department for Children, Schools and Families. </p

This article is from the BBC News website. © British Broadcasting Corporation, The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

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