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New ministers challenged to contribute to social work inquiry

BASW has responded to the appointment of Edward Timpson MP as new children’s minister and Norman Lamb MP as care services minister by urging them to learn the lessons their predecessors refused to heed by listening to the expertise BASW offers as “the authentic organised voice for the profession”.

Conservative MP Mr Timpson has replaced Tim Loughton within the Westminster Department of Education, with Mr Lamb succeeding his Liberal Democrat colleague Paul Burstow in the Department of Health.

BASW called on the ministers to play a full and active part in a House of Commons inquiry this autumn, in which MPs are to investigate the state of the social work profession and the extent to whichcuts are impacting on the capacity of social workers to protect the vulnerable. The inquiry, to be held by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Social Work, will meet three times in October and will question a range of different people, from frontline workers to senior political figures.

BASW chief executive Hilton Dawson said: “The reason why Tim Loughton and Paul Burstow lost their way was their refusal or inability to listen to the authentic organised voice of the profession. As newcomers to their briefs, both Edward Timpson and Normal Lamb have an excellent opportunity to start again and avoid making the same mistakes.

“To begin with we would very much welcome the chance to meet with them urgently to consider the true state of social work in England, at present, something we know all too well following our State of Social Work survey earlier this year, which revealedunmanageable caseloads, deep cuts to administrative staff and very low morale.

“It is because of the strength of these findings that MPs have decided to hold an autumn inquiry into social work and the potential risks that vulnerable service users are beingexposed to. The new ministers must commit to attending this inquiry and being open to the issues it raises and the findings it recommends.”

BASW is also inviting both Mr Timpson and Norman Lamb to attend fringe meetings at their respective part conferences later this month and in early October.

Note to editors:

The All Party Parliamentary Group on Social Work is meeting at Portcullis House on Thursday 18 October and Tuesday 30 October, details of the final session are yet to be confirmed.

The Liberal Democrat conference fringe meeting takes place at 12:45 on the 25 September in Brighton, on the topic of ‘The Coalition’s Vision for Adult Social Care’.

The Conservative conference fringe meeting takes place on the 9 October in Birmingham.

Edward Timpson MP has been made Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State with responsibility for adoption and children in care in the Department for Education.

Norman Lamb MP has been made Minister of State for Care Services at the Department of Health.