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This conference discussed next steps for the children’s care system in England, as well as the implementation of proposed reforms.
It followed the publication of the Government’s response to the Independent Review of Social Care in February 2023, alongside the recommendations put forward by the CMA in its Children’s social care market study final report, which looked at profits made by private social care providers.
We are pleased to have been able to include a keynote session with Dan Turnbull, Director, Markets, CMA.
The conference came as the DfE consults on the scope of the proposed reforms, including the implementation of the Children’s Social Care National Framework and Dashboard, and planed to introduce national rules on the use of child and family agency social workers.
Delegates assessed immediate priorities for how to adapt the existing system, as well as broader goals in the wake of the DfE publishing an implementation strategy which included an increased focus on early help for families, greater support for foster and kinship carers, and the introduction of an early career pathway for social workers.
In light of concerns regarding the levels of funding promised as part of the reform package, it was an opportunity to consider what will be needed over the next two years to lay the groundwork for meeting the Government’s missions of:
- improving relationships and home conditions for children in care
- strengthening corporate parenting responsibilities
- improving education, employment and training outcomes for children in care and care leavers, alongside improving housing conditions and reducing health inequalities
Further sessions discussed what is needed to reform the social care workforce, the implementation of the proposed Early Career Framework, and strategies to improve the retention of social workers and reduce reliance on agency staff.
The conference was an opportunity for stakeholders to consider the issues alongside key policy officials who attended from the Cabinet Office; DBT; DfE; DHSC; Home Office; Ofsted; The Scottish Government; and the Welsh Government.