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Social Work Taskforce

  • Last modified date:
    25 March 2010
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Reporting directly to Ministers in the Department of Health (DH) and Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF), the Social Work Task Force is being supported by a Joint Unit across the Department of Health and the Department for Children, Schools and Families.  It is chaired by Moira Gibb, Chief Executive of Camden Council who is a former Director of Social Services and President of the Association of Social Services. The purpose of the taskforce is to drive and deliver a cross Government Social Work Reform Programme to improve frontline practice and management. 

Building a safe and confident future: implementing the recommendations of the Social Work Task Force

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This joint publication from the Department of Health,  Department for Children, Schools and Families, and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills was published in March 2010.

In December 2009, the Government accepted the recommendations of the Social Work Task Force for a programme of comprehensive reform for social work in England.

This Implementation Plan explains how the Government is now working, with employers, social work educators, the social work profession, and with people who use social work services, to develop that reform programme and put it in place. It provides a route map for improvement – setting clear milestones for those who must work together to develop and deliver reforms, and giving current and future social workers, people who use their services, professionals who work with social workers and members of the public, clarity about the changes they should expect and when they should expect to see them.

Future of Social Work in Adult Social Services in England

Gateway: 12987

The Department, together with the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS), Skills for Care, BASW and the Social Care Association has produced a joint statement on social work in adult services to clarify the contribution of social work and assist Directors of Adult Services (DASSs) in planning their workforce.

The statement acknowledges that social work is an international profession.

In order to produce it, we have consulted with social workers, the Joint University Council Social Work Education Committee, the General Social Care Council and the Social Care Institute for Excellence.

The Social Work Task Force in its interim report in July 2009 stressed the need for a clear understanding of the work that we need social workers for, and of how their effective practice can improve outcomes.
The Task Force developed a description of social work, for the profession to use to explain itself to the public.

Building on this description, we undertook to develop a clear articulation of the tasks that social workers should perform in adults’ services and the skills and knowledge they need.

The statement sets out:

  • the purpose of social work in adults’ services
  • the distinct contribution of social work
  • the contribution to better outcomes
  • opportunities to develop new roles for social workers in personalised services, including support for self-funders, promoting social cohesion and creating safe, healthy and prosperous communities.

Final report  

Published: 1 December 2009

The Social Work Task Force has published its final report.   The Government has accepted a radical package of recommendations  to transform social work and public understanding of social workers’ crucial contribution to our society.

The 15 recommendations, which taken together mean there will be root and branch reform of the profession, were set out in the Social Work Task Force’s final report, Building a safe, confident future.

A Social Work Reform Board will be set up to take forward the recommendations and to work alongside the Government in delivering change to the profession. Moira Gibb, chair of the Social Work Taskforce, has accepted the role of chair of the Reform Board.

In early 2010, the Government will set out an implementation plan for the social work reform programme, to be overseen by the Reform Board, working in partnership with the profession. This will include setting out how reform will be resourced and changes to legislation that will be needed.

Full membership of the Social Work Taskforce

Moira Gibb, Chief Executive, Camden Borough Council

Deputy Chairs
Andrew Webb, Corporate Director, Children and Young People, Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council
Bob Reitemeier, Chief Executive, The Children’s Society

Celia Atherton OBE, Founder and Chief Executive of Research in Practice
Anne Beales, Director of Service User Involvement, Together - Working for Wellbeing
Kim Bromley-Derry, Director of Children’s Services, Newham
Sue Butcher, Head of Children and Young People’s Services, Gloucestershire
Richard Jones, Director of Adult Services, Lancashire
Diane Mallett, Senior Social Work practitioner, Barnsley Adult Social Services
Helga Pile, National Officer for Social Care, Unison
James Riley, Director of Adult Services, Hammersmith and Fulham
Bridget Robb, Professional Officer, British Association of Social Workers
Deidre Sanders, Agony Aunt: The Sun
Professor Sue White, Professor of Social Work, Lancaster University
Neil Wragg MBE, Chief Executive Officer, Youth at Risk
Maxine Wrigley MBE, National Coordinator, Voice

National Social Worker Recruitment Campaign

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In the run-up to the Children's Workforce Development Council's ‘Be the Difference’ campaign which will launch in September, the Department for Children, Schools & Families and the Department of Health have produced a series of six impactful short films to highlight the range of situations in which social workers can become involved.
Each film is based on a real life case study of a social work service-user, portrayed by a well-known actor or actress, who lends their voice to the story – just as social workers help the voices of service users be heard.  The aim of this phase of the campaign is to show the breadth and range of social work, and to encourage talkability.
A different film will go live each day on digital platforms – such as YouTube and Facebook – followed by a short period of television advertising from 1st September, before the CWDC recruitment phase kicks off on the 11th September.
The campaign is a great opportunity to create a positive debate about social work.  Please get involved by visiting

Interim Report

The Social Work Task Force has published its interim report.  This report contains the Task Force’s full findings to date about the current state of social work in England.  It also sets out for the first time the building blocks of the reform programme the Task Force will be recommending to Government later in 2009, with some early ideas for action and change.

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