Children and Social Work Bill announced

At the State Opening of Parliament, the government has set out plans to reform children’s social care through a Children and Social Work Bill.

The Bill sets outs a new system for regulating social care profession aimed at improving practice and driving up standards and a focus on improving opportunities for care-leavers. The sector has voiced concerns that a shift to direct government regulation of social workers risks professional standards being dictated by short-term political priorities rather than the profession’s evidence-base. Similarly, in terms of the bill allowing a set of criminal offences to be introduced for social work misconduct, there are worries that this will shift the focus to punishment of practitioners rather than fitness to practice on public protection.

To help you digest the key proposals in the Bill we've summarised the main elements.

Looked-after children and care leavers

  • Standards for how local authorities should act as a ‘corporate parent’ to support children in care and as they move into adult life.
  • A requirement on local authorities to consult on and publish a ‘local offer’ to care leavers, setting out the services they are entitled to.
  • An extension to the right to a Personal Adviser, someone who will make sure 18 May 2016 33 care leavers receive the support they need as they transition into adulthood, to all who want one up to the age of 25.

Adoption

  • Ensuring courts and local authorities take better account of a child’s need for stability up to the age of 18 when making decisions about their future.
  • A duty on local authorities and schools to promote educational achievement for adopted children and those in the long-term care of family members or guardians.
  • Regulation of social workers
  • A specialist regulator for social work, to enable a clear focus on standards and effective training and development.

Children’s safeguarding

  • Better protection of children by ensuring that lessons are learned from serious child safeguarding cases.
  • Support for innovation in children’s social care by allowing local authorities to pilot new, innovative approaches.

We will be examining the Bill in more detail over the coming weeks and in consultation with CDC members and our special interest groups. To stay up-to-date on future government announcements and our response to the Bill sign up to receive our news alerts.