In March this year I first put forward the idea of a Royal College of Social Workers on the tv and radio and in this article in the Independent, and this article in the Guadian, arguing that a new national voice for the profession is needed. I also argued that we must free up trained and experienced social workers to focus on children, not bureaucracy, and called for an an “expert social workers” programme that would reward social workers to stay in front line practice, rather than the current system where the only route for career progression and pay enhancement is to move into management. Eight months is not a bad result in the time frame from thinktank ideas to government policy and I am delighted to see Ed Balls announcements today, best set out in his Guardian interview: Balls unveils pay rises and royal college to boost social work status. Well done to all my colleagues in the Children’s Services Network who have been making the case for these changes.
One more thing Ed, why not take up the excellent idea put forward by Tim Loughton MP, the Conservative Shadow Children’s Minister, for a ‘Chief Social Worker’, an expert social worker with the respect of the profession to work as an adviser to the government, similar to the Chief Medical Officer.