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BASW: Government’s red tape move ‘disingenuous’

BASW has described government proposals to slim down child protection guidance as “disingenuous”.

Commenting on the launch of a consultation on Working Together to Safeguard Children, BASW professional officer, Nushra Mansuri, said:

“Social workers won’t quibble with efforts to cut red tape and reduce the time they spend on administration, but Tim Loughton is being utterly disingenuous in suggesting this move is anywhere near enough to make a difference to the real concerns that social workers have identified, namely unmanageable caseloads, stress, plummeting morale and cuts to administrative support staff.

“We are concerned that there has been no meaningful consultation on reducing this guidance with frontline practitioners. Indeed, we have spoken to social workers who say that they don’t even support this particular approach to reducing the length of the guidance. We recommend producing information in a different format: a weighty policy document for senior management; a user friendly guide for frontline social workers to refer to; and a longer series of guides on different topics available for reference as needed.

“Reducing guidance is undoubtedly part of the solution, but it has to be done in the right way. For Mr Loughton to say that social workers should “now step up to the challenge” is cruelly unfair at a time when cuts are ravaging their ability to protect vulnerable children and adults. As BASW’s State of Social Work survey showed last month, the situation is getting worse, not better, so this reform is nowhere near enough for his government to now seek to pass the buck to social workers.”

The consultation concerns Tim Loughton’s plans to reduce the Working Together to Safeguard Children guidance to 3 documents, totalling 68 pages rather than the current 700 pages, heralding the move as freeing professionals from “pointless bureaucracy that has stifled their judgment for too long”. Contribute to the consultation here