Reconsider the leadership and “defer and reframe” the Care Review, says BASW England

Association urges the Government to “significantly extend the timeline” and reconsider the leadership for the forthcoming Independent Review of Children’s Social Care in England.

BASW England has released its official policy statement response to the Independent Review of Children’s Social Care in England, criticising the “unrealistic timeframe” and saying aspects of the review “raise many concerns”.

“While social workers, other professionals and those with lived experience have expressed an urgent need for reform and would welcome a review to push for much needed improvements and investment, the manner in which the review has been announced, its framing, and how preliminary stages have been conducted raises many concerns,” the statement read.

The statement calls for thirteen recommendations from the Government, including to “significantly extend the timeline” to ensure the process is “not rushed [or] tokenistic and that it is transparent and inclusive”.

BASW England also urged the Government to “reconsider the leadership” of the review and appoint a co-chair and review panel “through a transparent process” to include someone with “substantial direct experience”.

The policy statement comes after BASW branches in the North East of England and London called for review Chair Josh MacAlister to “recuse himself” due to questions over his independence and level of expertise.

The Department for Education says the review “will set out to radically reform the system, and we will shortly be setting out timings for this ambitious work,” adding that MacAlister will permanently step down from his position as Chief Executive of Frontline to take up his role as chair and will be expected to comply with the Seven Principles of Public Life.

BASW England also criticised the review’s role for people with lived experience of care and social work services as “peripheral players”, saying care experienced people should instead be leaders within the review team.

The statement added that the review must “ensure an anti-racist, anti-discriminatory and anti-oppressive” approach, arguing that “voices of black and minoritized care experienced people must be central to a review which has such significant implications for their communities.”

Chair of BASW UK Gerry Nosowska said “I am grateful to BASW England committee and groups for deliberating and developing this, and staff team for all their work.”

“[I] hope many social workers get in touch to contribute to ongoing consultation and work to uphold these values.”

BASW England is now asking members with experience of working with children and families, or those who have knowledge of the relevant data and research, to respond to the review with initial views about how the review process can increase the confidence of practitioners.

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