Headlines: October 22nd, 2001

Social service leaders have condemned Government criticism that has coincided with a new recruitment campaign.The Local Government Association and Association of Directors of Social Services point out that one of the reasons for a lack of social workers is the poor public image of the profession.

They say a new drive to turnaround recruitement has not been helped by the publication of ‘questionable and limited data’ highlighting poor performance.

The LGA points to studies which show a clear link between the image of social work and severe recruitment and retention problems.

Both Associations believe further condemnation has only served to reinforce a negative image at a time when the majority of departments are improving.

The publication of the Social Services Performance Assessment Framework Indicators 2000-2001 does back the improvement argument, but in its detail shows that this is coming from a low base.

It details how national priorities, to achieve stable placements for children in care and improve their educational attainment, are not being met.

There is criticism of continuing problems at the interface of social care and health, of failures of some councils to meet their statutory inspection obligations, such as of children’s homes, and review procedures in the controversial area of child protection cases has improved but not enough.

The publication can be found on the Internet at www.doh.gov.uk/paf.

Meanwhile the new recruitment drive, led by a website and backed up by national media advertising, can be found at www.socialworkcareers.co.uk/