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Social work professionals to discuss priorities for children’s care system in England

Members of The British Association of Social work (BASW UK) and the Social Workers Union (SWU) are set to discuss the next steps for the children’s care system in England, as well as improving provision for care leavers at the Westminster Education Forum online conference next week.

23/09/22

Social work professionals to discuss priorities for children’s care system in England

The conference, ‘Next steps for the children’s care system in England and improving provision for care leavers’ takes place next Thursday (29th September) and follows this year’s publication of the final findings of the Independent Review of Children’s Social Care.

Social work professionals will examine and discuss the review’s recommendations, which include a “radical reset” to improve the lives of children in care.

The review, published in May this year, has called for a number of reforms to children’s social care, emphasising the importance of a “fundamental shift in the children’s social care response” to ensure children’s social care receive more responsive, respectful, and effective support.

The conference will consider issues faced by children and families throughout their time in the care system, including their relationships with social workers, as well as on future provision for care leavers.

The meeting will also consider the future of the social care market following the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) market study, which aimed to establish why a lack of availability and increasing costs could be leading to the needs of children in care not being met.



Speaking on the panel of “The Social Care Workforce” SWU General Secretary John McGowan will discuss the steps that the Social Workers Union (SWU) believes need to be taken to improve recruitment and retention and tackle current concerns regarding support and pay.


“Issues faced by children’s social workers can be divided into the four categories of caseloads, resources, workload pressures, and respect for the profession. Manageable caseloads and high quality, regular, and reflective supervision are some of the best protections when it comes to staff retention.

“Local authorities with successful models are providing good leadership and management training, good staff training around stress and wellbeing support, and offering professional development as well as reflective supervision and helping to manage caseloads. However, we must acknowledge that these protective measures are harder to achieve against a backdrop of local government budget cuts and an increasing number of children, families, adults, and communities in need of help and support.

“On a broader level, this increasing need for support is a result of government austerity measures and insufficient support both during and post-pandemic. Social work is critical to the health of the nation and – with such a large and ongoing funding gap – the government must invest in the present and future of social work.”

BASW Professional Officer Rebekah Pierre will also be speaking at the policy conference during the “Priorities for the children’s care system in England” seminar which will focus on the topics of funding, system capacity, standards, national and regional approaches, and the future of the social care market.


Rebekah said, “We need to have parity and equality of care for all children, including children who are aged 16 and 17. The state has created a two-tiered system where some 16- and 17-year-olds will come home to an empty bedsit with no adult supervision and living with the threat of the cost-of-living crisis, whilst others – as they should be – will remain in safe, stable environments where care is guaranteed. It’s completely unacceptable, and frankly immoral, that the state is allowing 16- and 17-year-old children to experience this level of institutional neglect.

John McGowan and Rebekah Pierre will also be speaking at The Social Work Show 3 October on how to improve stress and working conditions for UK social workers with a special Q&A; and on the role of social work in disasters including the Manchester bombings.

Book your free ticket https://www.compassjobsfair.com/Events/The-Social-Work-Show/Book-Tickets.

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