Social workers' list a step closer

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The Independent Online
Formation of a social workers' register to help protect children and others in their care will be taken a step further today when John Bowis, the junior health minister, is expected to promise that the Government will take a constructive approach to such a list.

However, his pledge will stop well short of a commitment to introduce such a body, modelled on the lines of the General Medical Council and the nurses' council.

Members can be struck off both of these for malpractice.

But amid mounting demands for such action in the wake of a string of scandals in children's and old people's homes, Mr Bowis will tell a conference of the Association of Directors of Social Services in Cambridge that he recognises the issue needs to be tackled.

And while there are practical difficulties over creating such a body, he is expected to promise publication this summer of a long-awaited consultation document on the idea which will "expose these issues constructively".

To date, Mr Bowis has said only that he has "an open mind" over the idea, and he will today highlight difficulties which include the possibility that the council could cover a million people if everyone working in social services was covered.

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