Government stymies plans for supervision compulsion

Employers will not be compelled to ensure social workers are given regular supervision under standards being drawn up by the Social Work Reform Board (SWRB).

Mark Rogers, vice chair of the SWRB, has confirmed that seven standards for employers, which will be published for consultation soon and launched in April 2011, will not place a requirement on them to provide regular supervision.

Speaking at a conference in London on supervision for social workers, he said: “We are disappointed that the option to make to make it compulsory came off the table. But that happened with the change of government.”

He added that the coalition’s drive to reduce what it had believed was a “deluge of guidance” by the previous government meant ministers would not support moves to make the standards mandatory.

“We are thinking about how we get people to sign up to something that’s voluntary,” said Mr Rogers, adding: “We don’t have the answers yet. May [when the coalition government was formed] changed everything.”

The SWRB is taking forward the work of the Social Work Taskforce, which made 15 recommendations to improve social work in a report published in December 2009. As part of its work it carried out a survey that revealed between 25 and 30 % did not received supervision every four weeks.

Speaking at the conference earlier, children’s services adviser and former BASW Council member Bill McKitterick said: “I know from my work across the country that there’s an enormous variation in the way social workers are treated and supported.”

“One of the critical areas is supervision. Without it, social workers will not stay, they will not come.”