Social Care Consultation on National Statutory Guidance ‘Working Together’
The Government is consulting on suggested changes to the social care guidance currently in place. The guidance is provided in a document called ‘Working Together’, which they want to be much clearer about the help and support that children should get. Changes are being suggested to make the following clearer:
- how important all family members and close friends are in improving children’s lives
- how and when family members should be involved and supported
- how important those who work in childcare, schools and colleges are in keeping children safe
- that those who work directly with children in need of help do not always have to be a child and family social worker
- how those in children’s social care should support disabled children and their families
- that the most important thing is to get the best possible results for all children, including those who are disabled
The last three areas are of particular importance for SEND families, who may well have an increased need for support from social care services.
We know that currently social care teams are struggling with capacity and that the process to access support can be overly complex for the level of support required. The proposal that a wider range of practitioners can offer access to support and the move away from this aways having to be a Social Worker is welcomed by PACC. We feel that there are some circumstances where a ‘lighter touch’ could be offered when providing lower levels of support, such as access to direct payments for 2 or 3 hours support per week, for example. This would help the system to respond quicker to the needs of families, if delivery of this offer wasn’t totally reliant on the availability of Social Workers.
PACC particularly welcome the proposed changes which will clarify the role of Social Care services in the lives of families supporting a child with a disability. The proposed changes aim to
• clarify the role of children’s social care in relation to disabled children and their families by stating that the role of children’s services is to provide non-stigmatising help and support when needed
• strengthen the section on the assessment of disabled children and their carers by emphasising that the assessment should focus on achieving the best possible outcomes for the child, providing practical support and recognising any additional pressures facing the whole family
• make sure that disabled children are included and referenced where relevant and appropriate throughout the Working Together, for example where specific groups are listed as being eligible for support, so that their needs are fully recognised
• strengthening the language around the role of the Designated Social Care Officer (DSCO) to align with wider reforms to the SEND system
For many families supporting a child with a disability needing help is a fact of life and should not be seen as a failure or a safeguarding issue. The demands placed on these families are significant and in some cases, it is impossible to see how anyone would cope without help, considering the known high level of impact on families from caring for a child with disabilities on an ongoing basis. PACC would like to see a culture in Shropshire and nationally of a proactive approach, which recognises the challenges faced by families supporting a child with a disability in a compassionate and informed way, allowing Social Care services to work in partnership and alongside parent carers, to ensure that these families have the same opportunities as others to lead good and healthy lives.
More information about this consultation is available here https://consult.education.gov.uk/child-protection-safeguarding-division/working-together-to-safeguard-children-changes-to/supporting_documents/Working%20Together%20to%20Safeguard%20Children%202023%20%20consultation%20document.pdf
PACC will be submitting a response to this consultation based on the work we have done with Shropshire families to date. If you have comments you would like to contribute to our submission please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org
Alternatively you can complete the consultation survey yourself on the following link https://consult.education.gov.uk/child-protection-safeguarding-division/working-together-to-safeguard-children-changes-to/
All responses need to be submitted by 6th Sept 2023
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