4 Biggest Social Work Stories You Might Have Missed Last Week (17/10/16)...
The government's plans to establish a council 'exemption clause' for children's social care obligations have come under fire, and registration costs will stay the same when the new social work-specific regulator is established. Read on for these stories, and more...
4. No 'Immediate' Registration Fee Hike for New Social Work Regulator
The Department for Education has announced that there will not be an 'immediate' increase in registration fees when regulation of the social work sector passes from the HCPC to a dedicated body.
The plans were announced as a response to an education committee report into social work reform, with the DfE saying the regulator's running costs would be covered by registration fees set at the current level alongside government grants.
A new social work-specific regulator is set to be introduced by 2018 under current government plans - legislation set to establish the new body is currently being read in Parliament.
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3. Government Will Establish Expert Panel Considering Council 'Exemption Clause' Bids
The Government will set up a panel of experts to consider applications from councils who wish to be exempted from their statutory duties regarding children's social care in order to test new ways of working.
Currently being read in Parliament, the Children and Social Work bill has proven controversial and drawn the ire of organisations and sector experts, who fear the proposal could lead to increasing privatisation in the sector.
In response to these criticisms, the government is proposing an amendment to the bill proposing that a board of independent experts review and approve application in order to better safeguarding care.
2. HCPC Publish Draft Social Media Guide for Social Workers
The Health and Care Professions Council has released a draft social media guide to enforce higher standards of professionalism among social workers who post online.
The HCPC has set out the draft guidelines following high-profile cases where practitioners have used social media inappropriately, such as when a social worker commented on a child protection case in September 2014, giving personal views and exposing the child's location.
It is hoped the guide will help social workers use social media in a positive way, and will encourage them to think before they post, be aware of their employers' social media policy and apply the same standards of behaviour online as they do in real life.
1. Government Will Amend Social Work Bill to Quell Privatisation Concerns
The Government will hope to add amendments to the Children and Social Work Bill to rule out councils using the controversial exemption clause to escape obligations to restrict profit-making in children's services.
Following a backlash from social care organisations, Chief Social Worker for Children and Families Isabelle Trowler published a letter to ease concerns from worried sector voices.
Trowler said that the government had heard the sector's concerns regarding the inadequacy of assessing local authorities for clause exemption, and was making changes to tighten the applications process and quell privatisation fears.