Social Workers and Welfare Policy Makers

This section will focus on the media representation of two key actors in the field of welfare, namely social work practitioners, and welfare policy makers.

Introducing Independent Children’s Trusts hails a major change in the relationships between local authorities, the government (Department of Education), social workers, and families with child protection issues.

It takes out the most dominant component of social work in the UK  from the control of local authorities to the direct control of central government. Thus local accountability is removed, and social workers stop to be part of the workforce of local authorities. It will be easier to hire and fire social workers.

Supporters of this change argue that it will offer a less bureaucratic service, more able to innovate.

Opponents of the change, such as the British Association of Social Workers, argue that in addition to being removed from local accountability and loss of workers’ rights, such trusts will depend more heavily on central government’s ideological preferences. The move also weakens considerably the place of social work in local authorities, and weakens local authorities’ power.

The move to the new structure comes as a response to the serious problems in the quality of care offered by a number of child protection services in the country. It also follows the wish of the current UK government to privatise child care services.

The new trusts claim improvement in the services they offer, and a move to put in place more innovative projects for sub-groups such as young people experiencing domestic abuse. It remains to be seen if services for children and their families will improve steadily and significantly.