Children & Social Work Bill [Lords]

Written evidence submitted by Alan Kennelly (CSWB 31)

1. I am making this submission based on my experience of practicing as a social worker for the past 35 years, the last 4 of which has seen me sitting on the Plymouth City Council adoption panel as vice chair. The abolition of adoption panels is one possible consequence if this bill, goes through, which I believe to be a highly retrograde step. Panels provide an independent and objective oversight of the practice and quality of work connected with adopter’s approval and the matching process between children and their prospective adopters. Panels provide a quality assurance role to a standard that cannot be guaranteed against a background of ongoing budgetary cuts to local authorities.

2. The notion that some councils can be exempt from social care statutory duties appals me. The system we have may not be perfect but it provides a consistent, universal set of protections for the most vulnerable children in society.

Summary

The idea that councils can opt out of current statutory duties should strike a chord of immense concern to anybody who has worked with vulnerable children as I have. This group deserves the best service available and should not be subject to a postcode lottery depending on which councils opt in or out. The law as it stands is crucial in offering optimum protection and I vehemently oppose the proposed changes.

December 2016

 

Prepared 5th January 2017