Headlines: November 20th, 1998

Extra money has been allocated for training social care staff, following a series of scandals up and down the country in which poor quality of social service provision and supervision has been a factor.Health Minister John Hutton has also announced a new initiative to develop better training for top managers and a new awards scheme.

The package comes with an extra twenty million pounds over the next three years, taking the total budget of the Training Support Programme for social care staff to 126 million.

He said: “The Training Support Programme will become a lever for modernising services and raising quality. We intend in future to gear the TSP much more closely to raising qualification levels and to set targets for improvement.”

Turning to training for top managers, the Minister said “The Local Government Association will manage a project to put in place 18 regionally-based learning sets for top social services managers. A steering group has been set up to manage this project. We will build on this first example of partnership – between the Department, employer and professional interests – to resource and extend the Top Managers programme next year and beyond.”

Details of the awards scheme have not been finalised, but Mr Hutton has indicated he is in favour of extending into social care a scheme for outstanding staff in the NHS.

He said: “I intend to discuss with employers and others ways in which we might create a similar scheme for social care staff, beginning next year.

“Critical comment always attract the attention of the media, while praise and recognition of effective work rarely gets any public accolade. I would like to explore ways of putting this right.