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BASW England update statement on responding to the Children’s Social Care Review 2021

The Review is being trailed as a ‘once in a generation’ opportunity for change. It has very wide scope in its terms of reference, far reaching stated ambitions and currently a 12-month timeline.

The Department for Education announced an Independent Children’s Social Care Review on 15th January. BASW England posted an initial statement online here.

The Review is being trailed as a ‘once in a generation’ opportunity for change. It has very wide scope in its terms of reference, far reaching stated ambitions and currently a 12-month timeline. 

While this Review is billed as a chance for structural change and innovation, BASW England is also clear there are many concerns about whether the proposed governance, leadership, terms of reference and timeframe are fit for its stated ambition. This includes whether it is credibly independent of governmental politics and whether it will be able to act in the evidence-informed way necessary to meet the change needed by children and families.

The announcement of the Review Chair and terms of reference has garnered a wide range of positive and negative responses across the BASW membership and more widely.

To ensure all member voices can engage with and contribute to the Review via the association, BASW England members’ committee is overseeing the work of a member-led group dedicated to responding to the Review, including its governance and processes, and holding it to account for what we expect based on our professional principles and ethics.

The BASW England Children and Families Group will also help to steer BASW’s response and engagement with the Review. BASW will put the views and expectations of people with lived experience of the children’s social care system - as children or adults – at the heart of our response.

The principles that BASW holds about social work are clear in our ‘Vision for Children and families’ social work’ which is to be launched soon. In advance of that, and reflecting its content and the principles driving work on children’s social work in BASW England, we expect the review to:

  • Be independent of government - inclusive, transparent and accountable
  • Be rooted in the best evidence from UK and wider.
  • Uphold and strengthen children’s and family legal rights and reflecting the United Nations Convention of the Rights of the Child.
  • Integrate lived experience of care and social work services at the heart of the Review
  • Tackle the impact of austerity and the role of poverty and discrimination in family distress, risk and statutory intervention.
  • Make the case for increased, sustained funding
  • Involve practising social workers and BASW the professional association throughout
  • A realistic timescale for real improvement
  • Ensure future children’s services are developed and provided through public and not-for-profit organisations and approaches.
  • Ensure an anti-racist, anti-discriminatory and anti-oppressive approach.
  • Take an interdisciplinary approach that also develops the role of social workers.
  • Focus on early help, strengths and relationship-based practice: time for social work