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Agency Social Workers

Volume 404: debated on Monday 28 April 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many agency social workers, who have worked for local authority social services departments, have been found to be unable to speak English; when he last met social services departments to discuss agency social workers unable to speak English; and what guidance he has issued to local authorities regarding the use of agency social workers who are unable to speak English. [109109]

Information about the ability of agency social workers to speak English is not collected centrally. I have not met with social services departments to discuss agency workers ability to speak English.The Department of Health does not publish specific guidance in relation to the ability of agency staff to speak English, but there are relevant sections in the Care Homes Regulations and the Department has published a range of National Minimum Standards documents, all of which set out standards in relation to staff competence and qualifications in social care provision.Regulations 18 and 19 of the Care Homes Regulations 2001 require all staff to be suitably qualified, competent, experienced and fit to work in the care home.The National Minimum Standards expect that residents will be communicated with in a language or format appropriate to them, which would in most cases mean English.