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Care Review – The Risks Of Too Much Too Quick

Care Review – the risks of too much too quick

The Care Review experts group advised steady change, as would be expected in previous times by a Conservative government.
Systems change is best achieved when small scale, incremental, targeted. Better to do a few key things done well, giving confidence, rather than everything, everywhere, all at once using a scorecard.
Big change disrupts, unsteadies as the necessary relational secure base of the organisation is fragmented.
Knowing this a large scale government response would show a poor understanding of systems and change, devoid of any management of the factors and dynamics that will sweep around taking away things that work as much things that do not. A Trussonomics effect in social work/care is be avoided.
Such a situation is not a good return for a £2+b investment.
It would be better to have spending on practice development that is strategic, targeted and planned.
The government needs not to amplify the Care Review devaluing of social work/care that is felt by the people delivering it as best they can in the current shape and, crucially, level of funding.
The key to change would be the revaluing of social work/care.
Two key changes to be a first focus could be getting right child in the right place at the right time, and preventing placement breakdown. Strategic, targeted, planned.
One local authority has turned its placement making around with the result 20 placements made with not a single breakdown. The key is working really closely with the children to support them to find solutions that work for them and everyone else. It is what people came into social work/care to do. Delivering job satisfaction will address the retention crisis. After a while it might be positive for recruitment too.
Effective placement making equals efficient spending. It is clear this can be achieved with a small % of the £2bn. Shouldn’t government choose to do this first?
With this practice guidance delivered by a national task force, first embedded, then consistently working nationally, and consolidated. Having built confidence would be the time to design another strategic, targeted and planned key development.
Social work/care is too important to get lost in ‘Sunak’s salvo/tsunami’ of forthcoming announcements, a parcelled-up bumper bonanza aimed at credibility recovery.
That it might be brings a final caution for government.
We social workers/carers are not in a good place to survive what’s coming. We’ve had to jettison any hope of a good outcome of the Care Review and have existed in a holding space of despair.
We shielded ourselves from the inevitability signalled with each feedback during the Care Review.
Flight is all but done, people have left social work/care not to return.
To hold on to professional and personal ethics maybe all that is left is fight, but perhaps there are too few to do so.
So the Government response is made to sectors and professions experiencing severe depression stemming from existential threat. It is no use pretending otherwise.
Thus the choice is to take measures to help recovery, one step at a time. It means picking one fight at a time. These are not to be avoided. If they do not happen it is because government has been successful in imposing compliance, this comes with big is better thinking like regional care cooperatives.
It is child-centred creativity that is essential. Government will know if they have managed to retain creativity if there is professional unrest. Such necessary positive delinquency is sign of hope. Government should not seek to extinguish it, it might be the only hope for the future.