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STORM CLOUDS GATHER OVER ADSS CONFERENCE

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As the annual social services conference opens today in Edinburgh - the largest ever - dark clouds are appearing on...
As the annual social services conference opens today in Edinburgh - the largest ever - dark clouds are appearing on the horizon, writes an article in The Guardian (Society p11).

Health secretary Stephen Dorrell has warned that local government could forfeit responsibility for child protection if more residential care abuse scandals emerge.

And before the end of the year, the government has promised, in the prime minister's words, a white paper with 'new plans to reform social care for children, disabled people and the elderly'.

The department of health said, The Guardian reports, the white paper would include proposals on 'regulation and methods of ensuring the widest range of choice and value for money for service users.'

Meanwhile retiring president of the Association of Directors of Social Services, Tad Kubisa, has written to his fellow directors, calling for their personal commitment to ensure the safety of children in care.

Tonight in Edinburgh, the Labour Party's new spokeswoman with responsibility for social services, Ann Coffey, will address Labour councillor conference delegates at a private meeting, The Guardian reports.

Coffey has a social services background. She worked for Stockport social services for six years before becoming a councillor there, and was leader of the authority's Labour group up until 1992. Stockport's social services director Bob Lewis is president of the ADSS for the next year.

The Guardian says Coffey is anxious not to comes across as a soft touch because of her social services background, and in fact appears 'impeccably Blairite'.

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