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MPs slam poor support for social workers

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Councils are failing to give social workers enough support and rely too much on unvetted agency workers, accoridng to MPs 

Radical reform of training for social workers is needed or vulnerable children will be left at risk, a children, schools and families committee report said.

The committee said: “The training of social workers is not fit for purpose…new recruits to the profession are routinely placed in the most challenging circumstances, with insufficient preparation, experience, or support.

“Universities and local government are failing to work together to provide high quality college courses, relevant practice experience and acceptable levels of support from good managers to social workers on the front line.”

Committee chairman, Barry Sheerman (Lab), called for “a high quality national training body and high profile national leadership of [the] profession” and said social workers should be better rewarded.

The report, Training of Children and Families Social Workers, criticised councils’ dependency on agency workers and said social work students should not do placements in councils assessed by Ofsted as performing poorly.

The Local Government Association said councils were forced to use agency workers by staff shortages.

A spokeswoman added: “We are encouraging councils to offer more support for new recruits including expanding mentoring schemes.”

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