Following reports of the Department for Education’s (DfE) decision to pull funding from the Children’s Improvement Board (CIB), BASW has described it as a “callous move” that constitutes a major blow to the children’s reform programme.
The CIB is sector-led, bringing together the Local Government Association (LGA), the Association of Directors of Children's Services (ADCS) and the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives (SOLACE). It aims to help councils improve their performance by building better local authority services for children and young people.
According to a report on Community Care’s website, it is understood that the DfE expects councils to bridge the funding gap, but this is widely believed to be unlikely given the current cuts to local authority budgets. Commenting on the decision to withdraw a reported £8.5m in funding, BASW professional officer Nushra Mansuri, said: “This is yet another major blow to the child protection social work services reform programme.
“It is well documented that we have a dearth of experienced social workers employed by local authorities. This decision, which prematurely pulls the plug on a scheme designed to bolster frontline social workers expertise through mentoring by experienced social work peers, is extremely disappointing.
“Passing the buck to beleaguered councils who are already struggling to keep everything afloat as the austerity cuts bite even harder is a callous move by the DfE.
“After so much was promised by the social work reform programme and the Munro review, ultimately this is a betrayal of vulnerable children.
“BASW urges the government to get back on board with the job of shoring up children’s services and fully implementing the recommendations of the Social Work Task Force and the Munro review; the consequences of not doing so are unthinkable.”