Professional body for social workers set up after Baby P scandal to close due to lack of funds

College of Social Work



Written by The Independent:


A professional body for social workers set up three years ago by the Government in the wake of the Baby P scandal is due to close because of a lack of funds.


The College of Social work will close after ministers pulled the plug on funding that would have kept it going. Its chief executive, Annie Hudson, told The Independent: “We’re shocked and saddened that this decision has been made because it’s very important for social work that there’s a strong professional college.”


The College was set up in 2012 with £5m in government seed funding. The independent body was one of the recommendations of the Social Work Task Force established after the high profile death of baby Peter Connelly in 2008 and was designed to raise standards in the beleaguered profession.


Its closure has partly come about because of its failure to attract enough members. The College’s target was to have 31,000 fee-paying members by 2015 but in April it had just 16,471. This meant they relied heavily on central Government funding to continue.


The decision follows a review that the College took of its business model with the Department of Health and Department for Education. The College had proposed taking on additional roles, such as post-qualifying training, as other professional bodies too. That would have helped secure the necessary funding to continue.

Read more: A million elderly people lack basic social care
Document on cuts to disabled work access scheme released
Cuts to ‘portage’ services hit children with learning disabilities


Jo Cleary, chair of the college, told Community Care: ”I’m devastated with the government’s decision about the future of The College of Social Work. This is a very dark day for social work and for the people that social workers support.


“There has never been a more critical time for social work to be a well-regarded and well-respected profession. The College is very proud of what it has achieved over its very short life.”


A Government spokesman said: “Good social workers can transform the lives of families and individuals in vulnerable circumstances. That is why we are committed to improving the quality of social work, investing over £100m a year to improve the status of the profession and boost the recruitment and retention of experienced social workers, and have invested in driving up quality in frontline social work. We have also set high standards for the profession and are backing quality training and development and new teaching partnerships to improve practice.


“It was always the objective of the College to become financially self-sufficient and independent from government. The decision to stop funding the College has not been taken lightly and follows years of Government backing to establish the College and help it become an important advocate in raising the status and standards of the profession.


“Since its inception in 2009, we have supported the College with over £8m to establish it as an independent organisation. We have also invested £100m through the Innovation Programme to kick-start new approaches to support vulnerable children and families. We will continue to work closely with the Chief Social Workers and the profession to champion and improve the social work profession sector.”