Salford experts raise concerns over children’s social care review

Categories: School of Health and Society

At the beginning of the year, the government launched a review of children’s social care in England, aiming to examine early years help, child protection, fostering and kinship care, and care homes, as well as the family support measures needed to prevent children having to enter care.

Since the review was announced, many social work and care experts have raised concerns over the independence of the chair, the review’s time period and its very wide scope. 

Leading experts at the University of Salford have now added their insight, in an open letter expressing their shared concerns about the review.

The letter reads:

“It has been several weeks since the Department for Education announced the launch of the Children’s Care Review to be chaired by Frontline CEO, Mr Josh MacAlister. Since then we have observed a wide range of views both in support of the government’s approach and those expressing deep concerns. This statement is based upon our collective reflections during that period.

“The University of Salford is situated in the 18th most deprived local authority area in England and the most deprived district in the Greater Manchester City region. The impact of austerity policies is keenly experienced, and the subsequent effects of inequality have been explicitly realised during the pandemic. The Cities’ Outlook 2019 reports Salford council’s funding has dropped by almost a third in the last decide. We agree with the consensus that a review is needed and should be informed by the best research evidence available, including the impact of austerity cuts on services to children, families, and their communities. 

“Social work education at the University of Salford is provided by qualified social workers with many years of social work practice experience. We are responsible for both pre-qualifying and post-qualifying education of social workers while maintaining the standards of practice outlined by Social Work England. Our shared view is that it is essential for the review to be independent from government with the integrity to instil confidence across the broad community of care leavers and people with lived experience and the multidisciplinary practitioners who work with them. At this time, we do not believe the review has this independence.

“We support the British Association of Social Workers (BASW) England policy statement dated 15 February 2021 and the 13 matters it urged the government to consider, including the independence of the chair; the terms and conditions; and the short timescale in which the review expects to be concluded. We share the ‘deep concerns’ detailed in the letter to Secretary of State for Education Gavin Williamson MP, which now has nearly 300 signatories, including 35 organisations. We urge the government to reflect on its decisions and to redesign a review whose outcomes reflect the principles of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.”

Mr Steve Myers, Director of Social Sciences Jameel Hadi, Lecturer in Social Work
Dr Allister Butler, Head of Social Work Dr Julie Lawrence, Lecturer in Social Work
Amy Alajaty, Teaching Fellow in Social Work Dr Kate Parkinson, Lecturer in Social Work
Andrea Pepe, Lecturer in Social Work Dr Lynda Shentall, Lecturer in Social Work
Carole Haines, Senior Lecturer in Social Work Patience Udonsi, Lecturer in Social Work
Deanna Edwards, Lecturer in Social Work Sarah Carlisle, Lecturer in Social Work
Dr Donna Peach, Lecturer in Social Work Sarah Riding, Lecturer in Social Work
Dr Donna-Maree Humphery, Lecturer in Social Work Sian Hopton, Teaching Fellow in Social Work
Frank Cusack, Lecturer in Social Work Dr Suryia Nayak, Senior Lecturer in Social Work
Dr Helen Scholar, Lecturer in Social Work  

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