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BASW Adults PPEG comments on Ombudsman report

Report's comments on ensuring dignity of people using services is welcomed...

BASW England’s Adults Practice, Policy and Education (PPEG) group is pleased that the Ombudsman for Local Government and Social Care has given advice to local authorities about principles they must follow in the Annual Review of Social Care Complaints 2018-19

The report states: “Nearly two thirds of our investigations are now finding faults in the system – many of which appear to be driven by attempts to ration scarce resources” and then it advises “any attempts to reduce costs must also properly consider the impact on the rights and dignity of people who use services, and must comply with both the letter and the spirit of the Care Act 2014.”

In an earlier report in December 2018 the Ombudsman criticised local authorities for creating circumstances where frontline staff “are sometimes at risk of having professional judgement overshadowed by the pressure to meet financially driven targets” and advised that “Councils should give the necessary support, and foster the right culture, to allow frontline staff to appropriately challenge management decisions and hold the line on what their assessment of the situation needs.”

BASW England's Adults PPEG view is that in an environment of severe funding challenges, the way some local authorities are controlling expenditure places social workers in situations that are potentially in conflict with the BASW Code of Ethics, via the following:

-     creating unjust policies and practices, 

-     not giving sufficient weight to social workers' professional judgements in decisions about funding individual care and support plans

-     making it difficult for social workers to justify the decisions of the local authority to people who use services.

Next year BASW is planning to publish guidance on how the BASW Code of Ethics can help social workers to address such issues.

"In developing this ethics-based approach, we plan to engage in dialogue with other adult social care organisations about establishing best practice in applying the requirements of the Care Act and the statutory guidance," said Chair of BASW England Adults PPEG, Pete Feldon. 

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