The Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families (Ed Balls): The 2020 Children and Young Peoples Workforce Strategy, published last month, set our ambition for significant reform in social work to be supported by a Social Work Taskforce. Today my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Health and I are announcing the full membership and remit for this taskforce.
The Social Work Taskforce will undertake a nuts and bolts review of frontline social work practice and make recommendations for immediate improvements to practice and training as well as long-term change in social work. It will report to both the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families and to the Secretary of State for Health.
Social workers carry out highly challenging work, often in extremely difficult circumstances. They have a vital role in protecting children and young people from harm and in supporting adults. Enabling social workers to deliver consistent high quality practice and services is a key priority for this Government. Our ambition is for social work to be a high quality, self-confident profession, with the support and esteem of the public.
The taskforce builds on the Governments significant investment in the workforce over the past 10 years. It also builds on the current investment of over £73 million to improve social work training, induction, practice and recruitment.
The taskforce will be chaired by Moira Gibb, chief executive of Camden Council. Andrew Webb, director of Childrens Services, Stockport and Bob Reitemeier, chief executive of the Childrens Society will be the deputy chairs. The taskforce will be small and action-focused. It will include individuals with a range of backgrounds and experiences including service user perspectives, frontline social workers, social work leaders and academics. The taskforce will meet for the first time in early February 2009 and will publish findings in summer 2009.
The taskforce will root its work in a thorough review of evidence and will build on Lord Lamings review of safeguarding. It will be crucial that the taskforce listens carefully to the experiences, needs and views of frontline social workers and service users. The taskforce will look at all of the factors that impact on frontline social work practice including a survey of workloads and pressures facing social workers. We have asked the taskforce, as an early priority, to look specifically at the integrated childrens system including how it helps to deliver quality support to children and families, procurement and IT
issues, how well social workers are supported to use the system and its impact on social worker workloads.
The taskforce will also engage closely with stakeholders including delivery partners, social work employers, unions, providers of social work training and academics to identify the key issues affecting social work practice and to ensure that the taskforces recommendations will secure excellent frontline practice. It will work in close partnership with the key organisations delivering improvements in social work, including the Childrens Workforce Development Council, the General Social Care Council and Skills for Care.
We are very grateful to the people listed below for agreeing to be members of the taskforce and contributing to this important work.
Moira Gibb, CBE, Chief Executive, Camden Borough Council
Andrew Webb, Corporate Director, Children and Young People, Stockport
Metropolitan Borough Council
Bob Reitemeier, Chief Executive, The Children's Society
Celia Atherton OBE, Founder and Chief Executive of Research in Practice
Anne Beales, Director of Service User Involvement, TogetherWorking forWellbeing
Kim Bromley-Derry, Director of Children's Services, Newham
Sue Butcher, Head of Children and Young People's Services, Gloucestershire
Richard Jones, Director of Adult Services, Lancashire
Diane Mallett, Senior Social Work practitioner, Barnsley Adult Social Services
Helga Pile, National Officer for Social Care, Unison
James Riley, Director of Adult Services, Hammersmith and Fulham
Bridget Robb, Professional Officer, British Association of Social Workers
Deidre Sanders, Agony Aunt: The Sun
Professor Sue White, Professor of Social Work, Lancaster University
Neil Wragg MBE, Chief Executive Officer, Youth at Risk
Maxine Wrigley MBE, National Coordinator, Voice
I am placing in the House Library copies of list of the full membership and remit for the Social Work Taskforce.
The Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families (Ed Balls): I can confirm to the House that the first steps to activate the Governments online directory of childrens servicesContactPointwill begin today.
ContactPoint, developed in response to a key recommendation of the Laming inquiry into the tragic death of Victoria Climbié, is a directory to support better communication among practitioners across education, health, social care and youth offending in the statutory and voluntary sectors. It will provide a quick way for those practitioners to find out who else is working with the same child or young person. It is a vital tool to help keep children safe because it is absolutely crucial the right agencies are involved at the right time and get even better at sharing information. And it will also help practitioners to improve outcomes for all children.
Under current child safeguarding arrangements, if a professional believes a child is at risk they may have no immediate way of knowing whether other services are already in contact with that child. The Government believe a fully operational system could save at least 5 million hours of professionals time, currently wasted trying to track down who else, if anyone, is helping the child.
The first stage of delivery of ContactPoint will enable 19 early adopter organisations17 local authorities in the north-west of England and two national voluntary sector partners, Barnardos and KIDSto train their ContactPoint management teams. It also allows all local authorities to start to shield a small proportion of records on ContactPoint. This additional precautionary measure is appropriate for records of children who are at risk of significant harm. These might include children with particular vulnerable circumstances, such as children from families on witness protection schemes, or where one parent has been the victim of domestic abuse, or in certain cases where the child has been adopted.
These are significant steps on the journey to making ContactPoint fully available. We are taking a steady and incremental approach to implementation, ensuring we evaluate as we progress and adapt our approach if required.
No information on childrens cases will be held on ContactPoint and it will not be possible to download content. It is a simple online tool containing:
minimal identifying information for each child in England: name, address, date of birth, gender, and contact details for parents or carers. Each child will also have a unique identifying number;
contact details for the childs educational setting and GP practice and for other practitioners or services working with the child; and
an indication as to whether a service or practitioner holds an assessment under the common assessment framework, or whether they are a lead professional for that child.
Security is of paramount importance. We have put in place comprehensive arrangements to prevent inappropriate access to the information on the system and ongoing security will remain a priority.
ContactPoint is backed by major childrens organisations, such as Barnardos and Action for Children, teachers unions like NASUWT as well as the Association of Chief Police Officers, the Royal College of General Practitioners and the Childrens Inter-agency Group whose members include NSPCC, the LGA and the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health.
I will provide an update to Parliament in the spring.
The Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change (Edward Miliband): Further to the launch of the Severn Tidal Power Feasibility Study in January 2008, I am pleased to inform the House that the Government have today issued a public consultation on the conclusions of the first phase of the study.
The huge, renewable resource of the Severn estuary tides is a means of generating nearly 5 per cent. of UK electricity. It can contribute to meeting the UKs renewable energy targets and the progressive decarbonisation of our electricity supply. But Severn tidal power must be considered in the wider context of alternative options as well as its impact on the environment and the economy. Energy saving, and other low carbon and renewable sources of supply are all means of achieving our goals. The consultation makes the comparison to these alternatives.
Tidal power development in the Severn estuary has benefits, costs, and risks and the consultation paper sets out a provisional assessment of these, in order to promote an open public debate. Studies by external consultants are published today alongside the consultation paper, including technical and engineering assessments, advice on financing and ownership structures, an assessment of regional economic impacts, and initial studies on environmental impacts.
The consultation seeks views on:
the process used to move from a long list of potential schemes (following a call for proposals last summer) to a short list of feasible schemes;
the proposed issues for further investigation by the feasibility study, including the scope of strategic environmental assessment
the proposed shortlist of:
1. Shoots Barrage(1.05GW scheme located downstream of the new Severn road crossing with an estimated construction cost of £3.2 billion)
2. Beachley Barrage(625MW scheme further upstream of the first Severn road bridge with an estimated cost of construction of £2.3 billion)
3. Bridgwater Bay Lagoon(1.36GW impoundment on the English side of the Estuary with an estimated construction cost of £3.8 billion)
4. Fleming Lagoon(1.36GW impoundment on the Welsh bank of the estuary with an estimated construction cost of £4.0 billion)
5. Cardiff-Weston (Lavernock Point to Brean Down) Barrage (8.64GW scheme, commonly known as the Severn Barrage, with an estimated cost of construction of £20.9 billion)
The Government are keen to continue to consider other innovative schemes. However some of those that have been submitted to the feasibility study are not sufficiently developed at this point for more detailed evaluation. We hope to see these develop further with the benefit of Government financial support and new public funding of £500,000 is being made available (in addition to existing support) to speed their development. The Government will consider their progress alongside shortlisted schemes before taking decisions on Severn tidal power generation.
Copies of the consultation document have been placed in the Libraries and are also available at: http://severntidalpowerconsultation.decc.gov.uk. The consultation period is 26 January to 23 April 09.
I expect to hold a further public consultation at the end of the feasibility study, probably in 2010, to seek public views on whether Government could support a Severn tidal power scheme and if so on what terms. This will include considering the development of alternatives
to the shortlisted scheme which are not currently sufficiently technically developed for further evaluation. The option remains open not to proceed with any scheme.
A meeting of the Severn tidal power Parliamentary Forum is being held at 5.00pm this afternoon in the large Ministerial meeting room.
The Minister of State, Department of Health (Mr. Ben Bradshaw): I regret that the written answer given to the hon. Member for South Cambridgeshire (Mr. Lansley) on 12 January 2009, Official Report, column 178W, was incorrect with respect to the 2009-10 weighted capitation targets per weighted head provided in the third column in the table. The correct information is as follows:
Table: 2009-10 weighted capitation targets per unweighted and weighted person by primary care trust (PCT)
|Weightedcapitationtarget perunweightedhead||Weightedcapitationtarget perweightedhead|
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