Sunday 3 July 2016

Children and Social Work Bill will free services from statutory duties

"Professor Eileen Munro has backed controversial measures in the Children and Social Work Bill that would free children’s services from statutory duties in order to innovate."

"Munro, whose landmark review of child protection was published in 2011, said powers in the bill to allow local authorities to request exemptions from certain social care legislation for three years would allow for new models of working to be trialled in "a controlled way".

"She said: `I welcome the introduction of the power to innovate set out in the Children and Social Work Bill. This is a critical part of the journey set out in my Independent Review of Child Protection towards a child welfare system that reflects the complexity and diversity of children’s needs`."

"`Trusting professionals to use their judgement rather than be forced to follow unnecessary legal rules will help ensure children get the help they need, when they need it. Testing innovation in a controlled way to establish the consequences of the change, before any national roll out, is a sensible and proportionate way forward`...."

"The Children and Social Work Bill powers, set out in clause 15 of the bill, would allow ministers to grant councils freedom from certain pieces of social care legislation. This includes parts of the Children Act 1989 and Children Act 2004. The freedoms can be granted for three years, with an option of a further three year extension..."

"But campaigners have claimed clause 15 poses a `massive threat` to children`s social care rights. Yesterday, in a separate intervention, a group of social work organisations, including BASW, called for the clause to be deleted from the bill. The group raised concerns the measures would create a `postcode lottery` in services and fragment provision by incentivising private firms and other third party providers."

"The social work bodies also called on the government to remove a section of the bill on social work regulation that would pave the way for ministers to control social work regulation. The move risked social work’s regulatory functions being driven by government agendas, the group said..."

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