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The final national Independent Review of Children Social Care (also known as the Josh MacAlister Report) is now completed.

https://childrenssocialcare.independent-review.uk/final-report/

The report highlights how ‘‘despite the hard work of many thousands of dedicated professionals, by almost every indicator children’s social care is under extreme stress.’’ It then goes onto push for the need for a ‘reset’ of how things are done.

This includes something that I am sure that many workers can relate to when it refers to the need to ‘‘identify and remove the barriers which needlessly divert social workers from spending time with children and families. This needs to include action on improving case management systems, reducing repetitive tasks.’’

Added to the above is the statement that ‘‘Children’s social care is complicated, bureaucratic and too often risk averse, and this has the combined effect of taking social workers’ time away from practice and reducing their ability to support children and families.’’

How the above will be implemented appear to be less clear at this time.

A survey reported in Community Care in June 2022 highlighted how the majority of workers feel that lower caseloads are central to any plan to improve the work with children and families.

https://www.communitycare.co.uk/2022/06/21/lower-caseloads-not-expert-units-or-staff-best-way-to-improve-safeguarding-say-social-workers/

The survey was carried out after significant changes to child protection were recommended by the Independent Review of Children’s Social Care and the Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel’s inquiry into the murders of Arthur Labinjo-Hughes and Star Hobson.

The former called for child protection work to be reserved for social workers assessed as expert in this area – which in future would be determined by passing a five-year early career framework. The latter recommended multi-agency specialist units to be set up to take responsibility for child protection in each area. There was also the suggestion of scrapping the role of Independent Reviewing Officers.

Please share your thoughts on the review with your Unison Rep. It is central that members voices are heard when it comes to how the recommendations come to be implemented.

Tom Taylor