Speaking at the annual Community Care Live conference in London, the Conservative Minister insisted that the government had “absolutely no plans” to change the current situation, in which local authorities are “accountable” for statutory children’s social work. Reports that they plan to do so were a “a misrepresentation of our ambition”, he declared.
However, said the Minister, “we are asking whether high quality services could be delivered by a wider range of organisations.”
“Councils already have all sorts of other statutory responsibilities that they don’t provide in-house. They instead draw on the expertise, innovation and capacity of a range of other organisations from the voluntary sector and from small and medium-sized social enterprise, but not so in children’s social work.”
Current law prevents the creation of social work organisations to which local authorities could delegate some of their responsibilities, he noted. “The law says you can’t do it…That law means that children’s social workers have been denied the freedoms that other professionals have enjoyed for decades…we want these freedoms available in children’s social care as well.”