Councils to appoint 'best practice' social workers to oversee care

Education Secretary Nicky Morgan announces new measure

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Indy Politics

Every council in England will have to appoint an experienced frontline social worker to lead on best practice, education minister Nicky Morgan announced today.

In her first major speech since taking office, Morgan wooed an audience of social care experts at the National Conference of Children and Adult Services in Manchester. She told them she did “not underestimate how difficult” the job of social work was or “how well you do it”.

Announcing a series of policies aimed at improving standards in social work, she said all new recruits - and current staff - working with children will now have to take an additional qualification giving them "Approved Child and Family Practitioner" status. There will also be a new accredited role for supervisors, as well as a new career path allowing people to be leaders while staying involved in day to day social work.

She said the measures were “a new set of professional standards for all levels of the children’s social work profession to inspire and develop the next generation of leaders, ensuring that the brightest and the best lead rather than leave the profession".

Announcing the new senior practice leaders, she said the job would be “focused 100 per cent on the quality of frontline practice in a local area, accountable for the quality of that practice. Alive to brilliant practice; alert when things are going wrong.”

Morgan also announced another year of funding for Frontline, the Teach First-style training programme seeking out the best graduates for social work.

Alan Wood, president of the Association of Directors of Children’s Services, said of the speech: “Any national measures designed to improve the quality leadership in social work at a local level are most welcome. We broadly welcome these announcements today and look forward to future involvement in turning these policies into reality. However the Government should be careful about over prescription around new structures to allow us the flexibility to respond to arrangements and needs in our localities.”