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The Urgent Need To Develop Social Partnership For Children’s Care In England

The Urgent Need to Develop Social Partnership for Children’s Care in England

Social Partnership is particularly common in smaller European countries which have no option but to develop strong internal coordination if they are to remain competitive in a world economy dominated by larger countries. This is the situation facing the UK.

A social partnership is particularly pertinent to RCC with the multiplicity of existential survival issues it faces in the next 12-24 months

A social partnership looks to create stable relations of mutual recognition, institutionalised co-operation and regulated conflict between organised labour, organised business and government. (These are explained in the linked document).

Social partnerships are not collaboration that often mask internalised disagreements, instead there is cooperation and coordination.

A social partnership depends on institutional structures that create powerful social partners in civil society and it gives them a responsibility to work together.

A social partnership allows the control of inflation, maintains a relatively egalitarian income distribution, expands into innovative economic sectors by cushioning the costs of those in declining sectors, makes stable investments possible, and overcomes collective action and trust problems in sharing resources for innovation and training.

A social partnership can work in children’s care in two ways

  • Through the inclusion of the care system in the broader economy, with negotiated wages and prices (and service-sector wage inflation thereby contained
  • By professional associations/unions and employers playing an often significant role in the governance of their sector.

Social partners must be organised, with very little fragmentation. If they are fragmented, then there is incentive for them to seek their own best deal.

Wherever a culture of cooperation exists, there will be some tough institutional or social constraints underpinning it.

Knowing the above it can be seen that a social partnership is more effective than a Regional Care Cooperative.

Collective agreements are written contracts between the collectively contracted employees and the employers that determine the working conditions for entire professional groups.

Important in a (currently) low pay sector – wages terms and conditions, and profits

A high degree of labour market centralisation means that wages, terms and conditions can be coordinated. This means partners join together to preserve profit and wage restraint. Representation of employers and employees mean that neither can distort the entire economy. Wage compression and strong union advocacy produces a level of social equality that most research on the topic would suggest is beneficial to social cohesion.

Children Looked After are included in the effective problem-solving mechanism as equal social partners through a representative body into the social partnership.

The Social Partnership and Public Procurement Act (Wales) Act 2023 (see Explanatory briefing: Social Partnership and Public Procurement (Wales) Act 2023 | NHS Confederation) includes principles for socially responsible procurement and fair work, both important aspects for the future of RCC in England.

A social partnership is an example of what a strong civil society and the state can achieve together.

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