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Social Workers

Volume 486: debated on Monday 19 January 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families (1) what assessment he has made of the progress of the Children's Workforce Development Council in setting the baseline for developing a newly qualified status for children's social workers from September 2008; and if he will make a statement; (247277)

(2) how many pilots regarding a newly qualified status for social workers have been established;

(3) whether the planned (a) fast track entry and (b) progression route for social workers has been established;

(4) whether the planned graduate recruitment scheme for social workers has been established;

(5) whether his Department has developed the proposed campaign to attract people into social work;

(6) whether the planned remodelling pilots in regions with the most acute social work vacancy and turnover rates have been established.

The Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) has asked the Children's Workforce Development Council to deliver a programme of pilots to support social workers who work with children and families. This includes the Newly Qualified Social Worker pilot programme which is now running in 86 organisations. The first cohort of Newly Qualified Social Workers started on the programme, on time, in autumn 2008. The evaluators for the programme are in place and are currently collecting baseline data from participants and their employers. The first report from the evaluators is due in spring 2009.

The graduate recruitment scheme commenced in autumn 2008.

The fast track route and the marketing campaign are under development.

The Remodelling the Delivery of Social Work pilots commenced in spring 2008. The Regional Recruitment and Retention pilots in areas of the country with the most acute vacancy and turnover problems are still in development.

In the Children and Young People's Workforce Strategy 2020, the Government announced the establishment of a joint DCSF and Department of Health (DH) Social Work Taskforce as a crucial first step in a long-term programme to reform social work. At the same time, the Government announced Moira Gibb, Chief Executive of Camden council and a former social worker, as Task Force chair, and, as deputy chairs, Andrew Webb, Director of Children's Services, Stockport; and Bob Reitemeier, Chief Executive of the Children's Society. In discussion with the taskforce chair, the Secretaries of State for DCSF and DH are currently considering the membership of the taskforce and will announce the membership shortly.