Monday 13 February 2012

Protect social work from privatisation

I recently spoke at a meeting of SWAN (Social Work Action Network) about the link between privatisation in education and that of other council services.  In some areas social work is being out-sourced with a number of 'Social Work Practice Pilots'. Particularly worrying is proposals for Child Protection to be out-sourced.

Privatisation of care for the elderly has led to carers having less time to spend with their clients and rushing in and out with barely time to converse. In contrast with local authority carers they are not paid for travel time (hence the rush) and are paid lower rates so the contractor can make their profit, have fewer employment rights and are not unionised. Often training is less thorough and turnover high so the old people do not get the continuity of care and contact that they need.

Extend this to social work and particularly children's social work and you can see the dangers quite clearly. Brent Council has said that faced with the immense cuts that they have to make that EVERYTHING is under consideration. We need to keep careful watch as things are fairly stable in Brent at present with fewer agency and temporary social workers. Stability is vital and we have to defend it.

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