Editorial: The Critical Role of the Manager in Good Social Care

A critical time for the child care profession

Forty years ago the professional associations set the pace in residential child care, producing ground-breaking documents such as the Castle Priory Report, having influence with the government and playing a significant role in the development of professional training. Without writing a thesis on the reasons for the change, it is clear that today professional associations play a much more modest role and their memberships represent a smaller percentage of the workforce.

Does this matter? If employers are providing training and the quangos are developing policy and monitoring standards, why should professionals spend their time and money replicating these functions?

We have argued that child care needs a strong professional voice. In our view, workers should not just be functionaries of their employers, doing what they are told to do; child care professionals need to own their standards, theories and working methods and have influence. Each child needs to have his or her needs met individually, and this requires sensitivity, creativity and imagination. These are not the qualities expected of functionaries who do as they are told. Professional child care workers need to have a degree of independence of thought, to be prepared to challenge the status quo, and to hold strongly to their internalised professional values.

The Social Care Association and the Institute of Childcare and Social Education are therefore focusing on The Critical Role of the Manager in Good Social Care in the SCA’s Annual Seminar. The first day, on Monday 12 March 2012, is focusing on services for adults. The second day, on Tuesday 13 March, is looking at children’s needs. The Seminar is being held in the Clarendon Suites, Birmingham. Tim Loughton, Minister for Children, is addressing the second day of the Seminar, and the day will close with the ICSE’s AGM, at which a new elected Board will take over.

If any of the line of argument above is of concern to you, come and hear Tim Loughton speak – along with Jane Haywood, Jonathan Stanley, Laura Steckley, John Molloy, Gerald Meehan and about half a dozen workshops – and have your say in helping the ICSE to represent what child care managers think.

Click here to contact the Social Care Association to book your place.

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