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Staff and care users given control of social care

14th April 2011

Care Services Minister Paul Burstow will today send out a strong message to councils aimed at encouraging joint working across health and social care and making personalised care a reality.

Ahead of his speech at the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services’ (ADASS) Spring Seminar in Newcastle, Mr Burstow today revealed the six sites which have been selected to pilot Social Work Practices for adult social care.

The Social Work Practice pilots will see groups of frontline social care workers given more flexiblity to work with the people they support and their carers to improve their outcomes.

In addition to this, the Minister has today announced plans to strengthen the legislation on direct payments to ensure councils make clear to every person entitled to care and support how they can make use of a direct payment.

New Directions to councils, to be consulted on shortly, will mean all councils must ensure there is a full and open discussion about direct payments. This builds on best practice that is common in some councils already.

Care Services Minister, Paul Burstow, said:

"The Coalition is determined to give people more control over their care and support.

"Our plans will free up front line social workers to do what they do best: help people maintain their independence. This shift in power will give people greater control over their care and support."

The Social Work Practice pilots are organisations that are led by social workers but independent of local authorities. They will provide the social work services for specific groups of adults in their community and their carers.

The scheme, backed by more than £1 million of Department of Health funding, will reduce bureaucracy, allowing social workers to do their jobs effectively and freeing them to spend more time with those in their care. It offers the potential to improve the lives of those receiving support by offering them more stability and continuity and will also enable social care workers to:

  • Take decisions closer to those in their care, leading to a more responsive service.
  • Feel empowered with more control over the day to day management of the practice.
  • Enjoy their jobs more – staff satisfaction levels in the children’s Social Work Practice pilots have been high as staff feel empowered and part of the decision-making team.
  • Build stronger links across communities and improve integration between health and social care.

The projects are focused on different user groups including adults with physical disabilities, older people with mental health problems and deaf and visually impaired people.


The Social Care Institute for Excellence will oversee the project on behalf of the Department of Health.


Stephen Goulder, the Social Care Institute for Excellence’s Workforce Director, said:

“The Social Care Institute for Excellence encourages innovation in social care and we are very pleased to be project managing these pilots.

“We look forward to adding to the evidence base about the role of social workers by sharing the findings with the sector. We are particularly pleased that the sites cover such a diverse range of people, services and settings.”

A successful scheme of pilots for children’s services has already seen children in care getting better help.

Subject to Parliamentary approval of secondary legislation, the adult pilots are expected to start in the summer and run for two years.


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