The Social Work Taskforce today published its final report on recommendations to transform social work and improve public understanding of social workers.
The Taskforce's fifteen recommendations have been accepted by the Government and include a license for social workers to practice, improved monitoring of caseload numbers and reforming pay to link it with training and career development.
Chaired by Moira Gibb, the Task Force comprised of academics, expert practitioners and charities and was established in December 2008.
Announcing the Government's acceptance of the recommendations, the Children's Secretary Ed Balls said: "The comprehensive reform programme announced today is a watershed moment for social workers, that promises to transform the future of the profession. The public rightly want to know that social workers are properly trained and well supported. This is the best opportunity we have got to build a professional, well trained and respected workforce and everyone including social workers should work together on this."
The new package follows the £58million Social Work Transformation Fund for children's social work announced in May 2009, which included a new recruitment campaign. This and the Children's Workforce Development Council's campaign has led to more than 50,000 people expressing an interest in becoming a social worker.
A Social Work Reform Board will be set up to take forward today's recommendations and to work alongside the Government in delivering change to the profession. Moira Gibb, chair of the Social Work Taskforce, has accepted the role of chair on the Reform Board.
In early 2010, the Government will set out an implementation plan for the social work reform programme, to be overseen by the Reform Board, working in partnership with the profession. This will include setting out how reform will be resourced and changes to legislation that will be needed.
Chair of the Social Work Task Force, Moira Gibb said: "Over the last year the Social Work Task Force has been listening to the concerns of service users and social workers, and those who work with them about the difficulties social work faces. The profession, knocked by widespread public criticism in individual cases has been low on the esteem and self-belief needed to drive forward the improvements required to make social work the high quality profession we know it can become.
"Working with the building blocks set out in our interim report, we have put forward a comprehensive reform programme, to help transform the social work profession. I wish to thank the many contributors to our research and am delighted that the Government has accepted in full our programme of reform. As Chair of the Social Work Reform Board I look forward to working with others to drive these important changes forward."
The children's charity Barnardo's has also welcomed the taskforce recommendations. Barnardo's Deputy Chief Executive, Chris Hanvey said: "This report is a positive move to refocus social work and reinforce morale and status to professionals who have to make life-changing decisions every day. At a time when social work is struggling to cope with widespread staff shortages, which compromise the quality of frontline services, the report's recommendations are an important step forward."