BASW: Doncaster move must not mirror current structures if it is to work

BASW responded to a Government-commissioned report which called for children’s services in Doncaster to no longer be run by the council, by warning that the initiative will only succeed if it does not mirror current structures.

The report, authored by the academic Julian Le Grand, Chair of the Social Work Reform Board, Dame Moira Gibb and Hackney Director of Children’s Services Alan Wood, recommends that children’s services in Doncaster should be run by a new independent trust, a not-for-profit company, that will perform the council’s legal child protection duties  on behalf of Secretary of State for Education Michael Gove.

Today’s report comes only a month after the council announced private consultancy firm iMPOWER was being brought in to help run its children’s services and a new Director was appointed.

Doncaster has been under government supervision since 2009, following the deaths of seven children from abuse or neglect over a five year period.

In 2010 a Serious Case Review involving torture and attempted murder of two young boys by two young brothers in Edlington found the attacks to have been "preventable".

It is believed staff currently employed by the council will be transferred over to the new structure under TUPE rules.

Commenting on the move, the first of its kind in England, Bridget Robb, BASW Chief Executive said: “The social work profession knows it needs to find ways to accommodate the new reality of ever more demand for services amidst fewer resources; done properly this initiative could form part of the solution.” 

“BASW has always been supportive of new ways of providing services but we will only see genuine progress when social workers are released from their desks and given more time with children and families who need support.

“This initiative offers potential for improvements in Doncaster if those implementing it learn the lessons of the children’s and adults social work practice pilots.

 “We hope this is a genuine innovative step. Simply mirroring existing local authority structures and imposing the same old bureaucracies under a new title will not do anything to improve the current situation in Doncaster."

Published : 16th July 2013

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