Shadow health secretary Chris Smith has welcomed a government promise to extend inspection legislation to include c...
Shadow health secretary Chris Smith has welcomed a government promise to extend inspection legislation to include children's homes with fewer than four residents.
But Mr Smith has attacked health secretary Stephen Dorrell's refusal, announced at the same time in a speech to the Association of Directors of Social Services, to set up a 'Council for Social Work' to register social workers.
Mr Smith said: 'It has long been an anomaly that the registration and inspection provisions of the Children Act 1989 did not apply to these very small children's homes, and Labour drew the health secretary's attention to it in February 1994 in a private members bill introduced by Anne Coffey. She argued when the bill was before parliament that malpractice and abuse were just as likely to happen in small homes as in larger ones, and I am pleased that Stephen Dorrell has belatedly recognised this.
'I cannot understand, however, why he has poured cold water on proposals from both the Labour party and the social work profession for a 'General Council for Social Services'. He told the conference that he 'did not find the case persuasive'. But social workers argue that nurses and doctors each have their own registration council, and they are keen to be treated in the same way. Labour believes that such a council - which would be self financing - would significantly improve the quality of social work in this country.'