BASW labels residential care review 'a cover for privatisation'

By Neil Puffett

| 04 November 2015

The British Association of Social Workers (BASW) has criticised the government's decision to stage a major review of children's residential care, claiming that it is a veiled attempt to "extend the government's privatisation agenda".

The consultation period for the review into children's residential care closes on 31 December 2015. Picture: Guzelian

Launching the review last week, Cameron said it will look at which children should be in residential care, and how the system can be improved.

But BASW said that the deadline for providing evidence to the review – which closes on 31 December is "extremely tight", leading BASW members to query whether the timeframe is sufficient for an exhaustive analysis of children’s residential care or if it is "the government’s way of seeking validation of an already agreed strategy".

"They find it hard not to see this latest announcement as anything more than a further rollout of the government’s privatisation agenda," BASW chair Guy Shennan said.

“The government needs to be honest about its agenda for residential care so that a proper debate can be had. Social workers are tired of having decisions foisted upon them under a smokescreen of ‘consultation’.

"The primary objective of this latest review should be to listen to what children in care are saying, to reduce placement moves, to be aspirational for children in care; not for them to become part of a commissioning commodity."

The government review is being conducted by Sir Martin Narey who has previously advised the government on its adoption and social work education reforms.

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