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BASW’s concern at arbitrary care proceeding targets

A Public Law Summit on the Family Justice Review (FJR) heard an upbeat assessment of the potential for an “effective, powerful College of Social Work”.

Speaking alongside government minister Tim Loughton at the event which considered the implications of the FJR for social workers BASW chief executive Hilton Dawson welcomed ongoing negotiations between BASW and the College of Social Work. He said: “Now we are working together to create the proper College – UK wide, led by and accountable to social workers, independent and powerful enough to make a real difference.”

Emphasising the government’s acceptance of an FJR recommendation on a six month limit for care proceedings, the minister for children Tim Loughton said delays are damaging for young people, adding: “Children can’t wait whilst we play at getting it right. For too long vulnerable children have been held in limbo by a dysfunctional system.”

Mr Dawson responded by describing time limits as “all very well in their aspirations but not much use if you’re not tackling the underlying issues”. He described how high caseloads, excessive bureaucracy and service cuts meant arbitrary targets aimed at reducing the length of care proceedings were doomed to fail.

The BASW chief executive welcomed the government’s commitment to appointing a chief social worker, reporting to government and parliament on the whole profession and offering what Mr Dawson described as “a unified version of social work at the heart of Whitehall”.