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Loughton takes responsibility for social work reform

Ministerial responsibility for social work reform has been given to Tim Loughton, the parliamentary under secretary for children and families in the new Department for Education.

Loughton’s policy responsibilities in his new brief include the work of the Social Work Taskforce – and the Social Work Reform Board, set up after the STWF reported – as well as social work reform, the children’s workforce, CAFCASS, children in care, children’s services inspection and youth crime.

However, the justice secretary and the secretary of state for education have agreed that the ministry of justice will have sole responsibility for youth justice in the new coalition government.

A statement said: “They agreed that it was important that one Department, the Ministry of Justice, is clearly accountable for this important area of reform. The Department for Education is refocusing on its core purpose of supporting teaching and learning, as well as strengthening children’s services.”

Mr Loughton was first elected to parliament in 1997 and in September 2001 was made a shadow health minister with a brief centred on mental health, social services, children’s health and social care. In June 2003, he became shadow minister for children, before the coalition government was formed in the General Election last month.

He has a significant recent record of interest in social work and he played an influential role in the publication of No More Blame Game, a report into children’s social work services which recommended the appointment of a chief social worker within government and urged media critics to better understand the pressures practitioners face.

Loughton also spoke at BASW’s 2009 annual conference.

More details have also emerged about the specific remit of Sarah Teather, who was made minister of state for children in the coalition government. An MP since September 2003, Ms Teather takes responsibility for child poverty, families, children’s centres, childcare, SEN and disabled children and young carers.

She was previously Liberal Democrat spokesperson on community and local government, education and housing.

Michael Gove will have overall responsibility for all policies as secretary of state for education. Minister of state for schools Nick Gibb takes responsibility for behaviour, attendance and bullying, while Lord Jonathan Hill oversees Ofsted inspection of schools, teachers and workforce issues and school funding.

Tim Loughton’s full list of responsibilities:-

  • Children’s services inspection and intervention (inc Ofsted)
  • Children’s trusts
  • Safeguarding including the Vetting and Barring Scheme
  • Social Work Taskforce and Social Work Reform Board
  • Children’s workforce
  • ContactPoint
  • ICS and eCAF (Common Assessment Framework) and Lead Professional
  • Families with multiple problems
  • CAFCASS and family law
  • Children in care, fostering and adoption (including runaways)
  • Domestic violence
  • National Citizen Service (including Youth Community Action)
  • sport
  • Youth services
  • Youth crime
  • Departmental efficiencies.

Specific details of responsibilities within the Department for Health were revealed late last month. As previously revealed by BASW Online, Liberal Democrat Paul Burstow will have adult social care in his portfolio and will report to health secretary Andrew Lansley.

As the minister of state for care services, Burstow will take responsibility for long-term care reform, carers, personal health budgets, safeguarding vulnerable adults, end of life care, long-term conditions, dementia, mental health, physical disabilities, autism and learning disabilities.