Since 2008 the Department has been piloting social work practices for looked-after children and care leavers in England. A total of 15 local authorities (LAs) have participated in the SWP pilot programme over this time.
At present there are 7 pilots operating in the following areas: Barnet; Blackburn with Darwen; Bristol; Kent; Norfolk; Redbridge; and Staffordshire.
The pilot programme was introduced to explore whether smaller social work-led organisations independent of LAs could improve the experiences and outcomes for the most vulnerable children and young people in care, to empower social workers to do their jobs effectively and to reduce bureaucracy.
The social work practices are one model in the government’s wider agenda of the Big Society. A key commitment is to give public sector workers a new right to form employee-owned cooperatives and to bid to run the services they provide.
An independent national evaluation of the five original pilots reported in September 2012. The full evaluation report and a brief can be accessed from the links on this page.
For further information about the SWP pilot programme, please see the documents available on this page.
Following consultation, we intend to allow all LAs to delegate some decision making and tasks around children in care and care leavers to external social work providers. The law that already allows this to happen expires this November. So a change to legislation will let LAs who are already using external providers to continue to do so, and will give all LAs greater flexibility around how to look after children in their care.
The first step will be to remove a requirement for social work providers to register with and be inspected separately by Ofsted. Ofsted will instead consider the experiences of children receiving services under delegated arrangements as part of their new inspection framework. We intend to make this change through a Legislative Reform Order. You can access the explanatory documentation for the reform order, including outcomes of consultation, from this page.
Social Work Practice Pilots Team
Telephone: 0114 274 2564 / 020 7340 8053
Word, 375 Kb
Word, 103 Kb
Information from the Cabinet Office about how the Big Society is about helping people to improve their own lives.
A Department of Health press notice.