Social work must be open to rigorous scrutiny, a fact nobody in the profession would dispute. Indeed the concept of a regulation and registration council for social work has widespread support within the profession but the Government is not prepared to take this obvious step to protect the public.
The changes to adoption introduced by the Health Secretary, Stephen Dorrell, have found much support within social services and are nothing radical - so why cloak them in rhetoric which only drives a wedge between social workers and the families who need their help?
A recent public opinion poll conducted by NOP for Community Care, found that more than half of the public disagreed with the notion that social workers are an "unnecessary interference" in people's lives. The poll also found that three-quarters were opposed to social services being run by private companies and charities, rather than by local government.
So perhaps ministers are wrong in thinking that there are votes in tired social worker bashing and extending privatisation to services for society's most vulnerable and marginalised people, where consumer choice will never be a reality.