The government is consulting on proposals to allow all councils in England to outsource almost all their children’s social work. This could see private contractors taking over services such as child protection.
Social work staff would transfer to the contractors and be subject to competitive tendering every few years.
UNISON says this dangerous move will threaten the quality and accountability of such difficult and sensitive work.
We need your help to try to stop it.
Last year the government legislated to allow all local authorities to outsource social work functions for looked after children. This was done, despite an independent evaluation of five pilots which found no concrete evidence that outsourcing led to better outcomes.
On the back of this change, the government is now pressing ahead to allow wholesale privatisation of statutory social work including child protection. Neither social work staff nor the public will want to see child protection services entrusted to companies like Serco or G4S.
Allowing contractors to profit from decision-making about children’s futures and appropriate placements will create conflicts of interest when the same companies could also be competing to provide these placements.
The government dresses this up as a chance for social workers to escape council bureaucracy – but there is plenty of evidence that councils can tackle bureaucracy in-house if they want to free up their social workers. The ongoing difficulties in some local authority children’s services reflect chronic underfunding and 40% cuts to council budgets imposed by the government – but instead of responding to funding needs, the government claims councils are failing and the private sector should step in.
Everything we know about serious cases tells us we need more joined-up working and accountability – not the fragmentation that privatisation will bring.
The consultation is here: https://www.education.gov.uk/consultations/index.cfm?action=consultationDetails&consultationId=1961&external=no&menu=1
Please could you follow the link to the consultation and take three minutes to respond. Just tick ‘No’ to Question 1 and ‘No’ to Question 2.
You can add in any of your own comments if you want – but the key thing is to click ‘No’ as these are the responses that will be counted.
Hurry, there’s not much time – the consultation closes on 30th May!