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BLOG: Bridget Robb on the appointment of two Chief Social Workers for England

BASW Chief Executive Bridget Robb offers some early advice to the two newly-appointed Chief Social Workers in England

"The long awaited announcements of Lyn Romeo and Isabelle Trowler as the Chief Social Workers for Adults and Children's social work in England is both a celebration and a major disappointment.

"BASW has long supported the appointment of a Chief Social Worker to advise Government on social work issues, as happens elsewhere in the United Kingdom. The decision by the Department for Education and the Department of Health that they could not agree on a single post results in the unhappy compromise of two posts.

"This division of the profession is then being reinforced by the establishment of potentially two separate Frontline education programmes. Following the death of Peter Connelly, the jointly established Social Work Task Force identified strong reasons why this split between adult and childrens services was not appropriate professionally and not in the interests of the public.

"This unified thinking drove the work of the Social Work Reform Board which has been implementing the Task Force recommendations. The decisions by the current government to ignore all that work and re-create the dysfunctional silos is a major retrograde step and flies in the face of good practice elsewhere in the UK and internationally.

"We look forward to working with Lyn and Isabelle in their roles, but will expect them to demonstrate that they are working closely together in the interests of all service users and to represent the profession to government as a single unified profession, not one which is divided to meet the whim of ministers.

"If they demonstrate they can work together effectively for the profession, then their appointments will be a major breakthrough. If they get trapped within their separate departments they will quickly lose the support of the profession."