DfE to encourage children's social care providers to ‘take risks'

Neil Puffett
Monday, January 18, 2016

A "fundamental cultural shift" featuring a greater degree of risk-taking is necessary in order to improve standards within children's social care, the Department for Education has said.

A document published to coincide with a series of announcements by Education Secretary Nicky Morgan last week on government plans for the future of social work reveals that there is a desire for greater levels of innovation within the sector.

"There have always been bold local leaders willing to do things differently – for example in North Yorkshire, where a radical new approach to supporting adolescents in care has been developed," the document, states.

"But we see far less genuine innovation in children’s social care than in comparable services, with most areas feeling unable to take measured risks in the interests of children for fear of falling foul of prescribed approaches. This must change."

The document states that the government has made a strong start towards instigating change through its £100m Children's Social Care Innovation programme – but adds that it is necessary to go further and “drive a fundamental cultural shift”.

The document also gives further details of the government’s desire to open up children’s social care to other providers.

“Through our innovation programme we will support those local authorities who wish to establish organisations, mutuals and trusts covering all, or part, of their children’s social care functions, working with children’s charities to explore the scope for their involvement,” the document states.

The document adds that a full children's social care strategy will be published in the coming months.

Government proposals for the future of social work announced by Education Secretary Nicky Morgan last week included the creation of a new social work organisation to drive up standards and put social workers on a par with high-status professions such as surgeons or lawyers.

She also announced a £100m expansion of fast-track schemes in a bid to recruit thousands more top graduates into frontline children’s social care.

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