The Government has at last taken the right decision to abandon its attempt to locate social work regulation within the Department for Education. It will now create an independent body to take over regulation of social workers from the Health and Care Professions Council.
One puzzle is why it has taken so long for ministers to realise that creating a regulator controlled by central government was exactly the wrong thing to do. Another is why the Chief Social Worker for Children, Isabelle Trowler, maintained earlier this year that a government controlled regulator was ‘essential’.
If children’s social workers are to have any confidence at all in professional regulation it has to be absolutely clear that the system of regulation is free from interference by politicians and civil servants. Anything less is unacceptable.
I struggle to see why the Chief Social Worker for Children apparently failed to see that. It seems that helping ministers to impose unacceptable and damaging government policies on children’s social work has now become central to her role. Thank goodness that on this occasion it hasn’t worked and that sense has prevailed.