Social Work England

Part of Children and Social Work Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee am 3:00 pm ar 15 Rhagfyr 2016.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Edward Timpson Edward Timpson Minister of State (Education) 3:00, 15 Rhagfyr 2016

I am always happy to talk with the hon. Gentleman at any time about the details of policies and their implementation, and this is no exception. Despite the short time I have had to prepare an answer, I will do my best to give him the details that he seeks.

The Government will significantly support the establishment of Social Work England as a regulator in terms of the set-up costs. We anticipate that about £10 million will be provided by the Government from the Department of Health. The Government will also contribute up to £16 million over the rest of this Parliament to support the running costs of Social Work England. We anticipate that it will become a self-sustaining model. For the reasons that the hon. Gentleman set out, we want to ensure that, during that period, that is exactly what we work towards.

The administration and workings of the new regulator will be overseen by the Professional Standards Authority, which will be keeping a close eye on its ability to be sustainable. At the moment, we are looking at individual registration, but I will look carefully at what the hon. Gentleman said about whether there are other mechanisms. The important thing is that we are confident that every person who is meeting the necessary standards is doing so as an individual, as opposed to as part of a team. It is that person’s professional capacity that we are most interested in.

The regulator is not an improvement body; it is purely a regulator. One point I will pick up on for the hon. Member for South Shields is that we want to work with the various professional bodies that support social workers so that we have a single body that can help social workers with their improvement journey through their career, so that they feel supported in the process.

We have established an advisory group that includes the Association of Directors of Children’s Services, the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services, the British Association of Social Workers, Unison, the Local Government Association and the PSA, which will act as our critical friend and provide effective challenge to help us to develop the detail and the practical delivery of the new regulator. The first meeting took place on 9 December. The intention is that the group will meet every six weeks to discuss the challenges that the changes will have for the wider social workforce, and to help support the development and detail of Social Work England. There are requirements in the Bill for Social Work England to consult on its standards, so there is another opportunity to look at those more closely. On that basis, I hope that the clause stands part of the Bill.