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BASW Briefing for Peers: Children and Social Work Bill Report Stage

BASW remains concerned about elements of the Children and Social Work Bill, which is to proceed to Report Stage on18 October 2016 for an expected two days.

Despite BASW’s concerns being echoed by Peers from across the House, the Department for Education’s Minister Lord Nash, has yet to respond satisfactorily, in particular to the rationale behind Clause 29’s suspension of primary legislation. The Bill in its current form paves the way for sweeping changes to the regulation and oversight of social work and also lays out significant changes to the provision of children’s social care.

The wellbeing of some of England’s most vulnerable children and families are at stake in this Bill. The profession of social work could be profoundly changed in terms of regulation, governance, initial and continuing education and degree of independence from government. Yet these changes are presented in a Bill with minimum democratic accountability. This raises significant ethical and constitutional concerns and risks further fragmentation of a system suffering from a lack of coherent national strategy, as highlighted in the National Audit Office’s damning report on the state of children’s services.