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Labour plans could see more social workers in schools

The Labour Party has pledged that social work training will be overhauled and more social workers would be based in schools should they be re-elected into government following the General Election next month.

In its manifesto published yesterday, Labour stated: “Through children’s trusts, children and youth services will work closely with schools and colleges, increasingly co-locating wider children’s services with schools.”

Pledging to ‘radically overhaul’ social work training to raise the status and standards of the profession, the manifesto reiterates the government’s commitment to a National College of Social Work.

The Labour commitment to entrenching the role of children’s trusts came just days after the shadow children’s secretary Michael Gove suggested he would remove the obligation on local areas to establish trusts if the Conservative party wins the election. “I simply cannot see what value children’s trusts add,” he said. The trusts were introduced in the aftermath of the death of Victoria Climbie, with the aim of promoting multi agency working to improve the safeguarding of vulnerable children.

BASW urged the three main political parties last week to make social work a priority sector, along with education and health, to keep the profession safe from further cuts. BASW also called for a Social Work Act of Parliament to ensure that a College of Social Work would have a fundamental role in setting standards for entry into the profession as well as for employers, careers, qualifications and continuing professional development.

Labour has made protecting children key to its manifesto but falls short of committing to publishing full serious case reviews, insisting instead that detailed summaries would be published in order to protect children’s identities.

The Party also plans to improve residential and foster care, expanding specialised foster care for the most vulnerable children as well as the Care2Work programme for all care leavers.

The manifesto details widely debated plans for a new National Care Service to ensure free care in the home for those with the greatest needs as well as a cap on the costs of residential care so that older people’s homes and savings are protected from care charges after two years in a care home.

BASW last week also urged fair access and dignity in old age through the introduction of a funding system for care with the same status as the NHS and funded through general taxation or National Insurance.

For more on Labour’s manifesto visit www2.labour.org.uk/uploads/TheLabourPartyManifesto-2010.pdf

For more on BASW’s manifesto visit www.basw.co.uk/manifesto/