Memorandum submitted by the Children's
Workforce Development Council (CWDC)
1. The Children's Workforce Development
Council (CWDC) exists to improve the lives of children, young
people, their families and carers by ensuring that all people
working with them have the best possible training, qualifications,
support and advice. It also helps children and young people's
organisations and services to work together better so that the
child is at the centre of all services.
2. CWDC has a number of roles, including working
as a Sector Skills Body, leading workforce reform and as a funding
body for Early Years Professionals.
Our goals are to:
Strengthen workforce excellence through
the creation of new training opportunities, career development
and flexible career pathways between different parts of the children's
Ensure that all workers have appropriate
skills and qualifications and work to increase recruitment into
the children's workforce and improve the retention of high quality
Help the workforce deliver joined
up services and improved communication across the sector. Continue
to recognise the unique qualities and contributions of individual
3. Our submission focuses on workforce implications
arising out of the White Paper and we would wish to highlight
two key messages:
The need to develop a career development
framework for all those in social care.
The need for graduate led professional
4. The move to earlier and more focused
intervention around the child or young person and their family
is to be welcomed. (Children's Planbuilding brighter
Everyone working with children and young people
has a responsibility to provide the very best for them. Children
and young people and their families who are in receipt of social
care are often among the most vulnerable of our communities. They
need to know that those working with them understand their needs,
respect them and are trained appropriately. (Dr R Morgan Children's
Rights Director, CSCI February 2006, NCB report Findings from
consultations with young people on the CWDC Options for Excellence
Review March 2006).
Options for Excellence, the joint DfES/DH review
of the social workforce set out a vision for the workforce for
the 21st century. "A professional workforce, where all workers
are trained, skilled, appropriately qualified, held accountable
for their actions and committed to delivering an excellent standards
of care". (Options for Excellence, Building the Social
Care Workforce of the Future, October 2006).
5. In making provision for the delivery
of social work and social care services it will be important to
ensure that social workers, residential workers, foster carers,
Independent Reviewing Officers and others are appropriately skilled
to do this. All services whether delegated outside of authorities
or not, need to be able to demonstrate clear workforce planning
and development processes that set out core skills and training.
A comprehensive career development framework
would set out an overarching framework for all staff in children's
social care. This would set out the core behaviours, minimum skills
and knowledge expected and likely career pathways from induction
onwards. The framework would clarify the entry points at a range
of levels and set out core and specialist units required for those
working with vulnerable children and young people. The framework
would set out continuing professional development requirements
for newly qualified social workers, higher level skills and knowledge
for experienced workers and specialist practitioners. It would
also set out core standards for foster carers, residential workers
and other key workers such as family support workers and domiciliary
care workers who work with children.
The framework would reflect the vision set out
within the Childrens Plan for a minimum of Level 3 entry into
the workforce and describe possible career progression routes
through to graduate professional leadership. (The Children's Plan
6. A recent study commissioned by CWDC was
undertaken by the National Centre for Residential Child Care (NCERCC)
in partnership with Social Care Association (SCA). The study explored
the relevance of training and qualifications to meet the needs
of young people and the staff who care for them. The study highlighted
a need for core modules supplemented by specialist subjects that
will provide the Residential Child Care workforce with a range
of skills relevant to the complex needs of young people in residential
care. (Training & Qualifications in the Residential Sector,
final draft, December 2007 NCERCC/SCA).
7. The Training, Support & development
Standards for Foster Carers were launched in May 2006 for full
implementation form April 2008. The Social care framework would
build on these initial standards and set out additional skills
for further complex work in foster care (Care Matters: Time
for Change, June 2007).
8. The framework is the first stage in raising
the skills and competence of the social care workforce and will
assist employers in workforce planning and identifying the training
needs of their workforce. It would serve as an aid to recruitment
and retention, giving employees clear messages about what they
can expect in terms of their own development. Building their confidence
and providing them with opportunities to work towards higher levels
of attainment and thus increasing the quality and competence of
the service. High quality services are characterised by robust
workforce development, training and management development. (CSCI
9. Options for Excellence made clear the
importance of strong leadership and management. The Children's
Plan strengthens this in setting out the aim to build a world
class workforce. The need for leaders who can deliver excellence
in their own institutions and who can work cross-organisationally
to provide the best services to children and young people.
10. Working with looked after children and
young people who are looked after or on "the edge of care"
(Care Matters) is a difficult and challenging job. Workers
need to feel that they are appropriately supported by their managers
and organisations to discharge their responsibilities well. The
recent independent inquiries into child abuse cases in Wakefield
and at Westminster illustrated the need for strong leadership
in decision making and the need for managers who are skilled in
performance management and partnership working.
11. The social care professional development
framework would also ensure that practitioners working in complex
areas of services were able to progress to graduate level. Social
workers who are already at graduate level would be expected to
progress to higher level skills and knowledge, residential workers
and others should also be able to develop specialist skills and
knowledge leading to graduate level.
12. Championing Children is a framework
that establishes a shared set of skills, knowledge and behaviours
for those who are leading and managing integrated children's services.
It provides a common understanding about the particular abilities
required by leaders and managers of these services. Individuals,
teams and organisations can use this document as a planning tool
to help develop the skills, knowledge and behaviours necessary.
13. A whole systems approach to workforce
development is clearly linked to improved outcomes for those using
services. The Commission for Social Care Inspection found that
a key characteristic which distinguished 3 star councils was "strong
management and leadership and a political commitment to social
Care". These councils were found to have excellent judgment
in leadership and an ability to implement professional standards
irrespective of whether the services were in house or commissioned
externally. (CSCI 2007) Leaders and managers must be in a position
to demonstrate their competence and confidence at the highest
levels, particularly in developing and supporting integrated working.
All managers in social care must therefore be able to demonstrate
the same high level skills in practice, decision making and organisational
development alongside their colleagues in integrated settings
eg early years, teaching. They must therefore be graduate professionals
or be supported to work towards a graduate professional status.
14. (Care Matters, Time for Change, Children's
Plan) CWDC's work taking forward Championing Children will
15. CWDC looks forward to working with DCSF
and others to take forward these key areas of development.