Social Work Practises

Have you ever wondered what would happen when the Government finally is able to privatise Social Work teams? Its not too far off and for Looked after teams in Kent, Liverpool, Hillingdon and Staffordshire and Blackburn it is now as this scheme is being piloted.  The idea is to reduce the bureaucracy and increase outcomes for young people.  The scheme has been running since 2008 and is now being to extended http://dfe.gov.uk/


 The Government set out this scheme in the ‘Care matters White Paper’, with provisions to test these in the ‘Children and Young Person’s Bill’.  At present these schemes are going through a process of evaluation.  Looking at the impact on the young people in care and also the wider Children Services and the impact on them.  Next year in 2012 a report will be published on the Social Work Practise Pilots and will evaluate how they have been.  This scheme will only be developed further if there is a clear measurable outcomes for the Children.  Another measure is to improve the relationship between the young person and their Social Worker.  (something I can agree with)  I have known Children to have left care with more than 15 Social Workers!


It looks like the Authority will continue to be the Corporate Parent, and continue to monitor whether the Social Work Practises are:


  • Get to know you – what makes you happy and what makes you sad.
  • Work with you to resolve any problems that may be making you unhappy.
  • Help you to stay in touch with your family where appropriate.
  • Ensure you are healthy and doing well at school.
  • Make time for you when you need it.
  • Be honest, reliable and trustworthy.
  • Test new ways of giving you more control over your life.
  • Try to give you a much better experience of care.
What are the benefits for practitioners?

The aim is to reduce bureaucracy, and enable different models of practise.  A chance to use different approaches in order to improve the outcomes for young people!  Note: that there will still be a practise manager of sorts and that there will still be a level of accountability

But for smaller practises there is a chance to take on additional tasks for a fee that might create extra funding that could be used to create, fund and run extra training, or facilities for young people.

The aim is that once a Social Work Practise takes on a Young Person they are responsible for looking after that Child until they leave care and after they have left care.

Key Principles:

Social Work Practises should be Child Centred and the welfare of the Child is paramount.  The Child’s interests is the main interest of the Local Authority and the Social Work Practise.

Accountability:

The Local Authority will not be able to discharge its responsibilities towards the Looked After Child.  So the contract between them and the Social Work Practises should be critical and clear about the terms and the expectations of the work being requested.  This should be guided by the Children’s plan.

The role of the Independent Reviewing officers becomes even more important on monitoring the outcomes and the views of everyone to ensure the quality of care is being maintained.

Payments:

These will be made on agreed thresholds of measurable outcomes for the young people the Social Work Practises manage and could be reduced if these targets are not met.

Roles and Responsibilities:

The Social Work function will be maintained within these teams and Assessments and Care Planning will need to continue.  Social Work Practises will need to report to the Children’s trust to ensure Policies and Procedures are kept up to date and relevant.

At present there is not much information on how these Practises are doing.  Other than the Government are looking to extend the project.  I know that I will be interested in these results and what may or may not be the future of Social Work and whether this will be integrated in to Child Protection.

However, for some Social Workers this may be an exciting opportunity to develop their practise and make some positive changes and listen to the young people and develop services tailored for them.









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4 responses

  1. There is a wish to roll out these practices into adult social care so I'm curious how they work. There are some definite positives but the roles don't necessarily translate to equivalents. As for those of us in mental health services working in integrated teams, I have to say I worry because social work is constantly being diluted. I want to be hopeful and positive about new ways of working however so my optimistic strain tells me that we should embrace ideas which lead to better service delivery models 🙂

  2. what would happen if one of these practices went bust and as a practioner in a MH team i would echo fighting monsters point. Is there not a need for improved management structures rather than opening the door to private enterprise

  3. I agree, and we will not know until next year how these pilots are going? It is worrying that should the CO-OP not met its targets funding is withdrawn. The LA remains over all in charge and changes to another CO-OP team. So we will still have the same issue of change in Social Workers. However, if the right group starts and can get the right additional funding there is an opportunity for some good Social Work. I just hope that when the findings come out there will be a chance for everyone to examine how it has worked. Also a chance to decide whether it will work in each area.

  4. Very right,Not a single point is ignorable about the and effective social works.Very nice and informative post.Veronica Hearst

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