The UK government has dropped its proposed ‘exemption clause’ in new social care legislation, following pressure from opponents of the plans. Adrian Voce reports.
Provisions contained in the Children and Social Work Bill, which is currently going through parliament, were intended to give councils the ability “to test different ways of working” within children’s services by freeing them from “requirements imposed by children’s social care legislation”.
But the proposals have been highly divisive, with a number of children’s sector bodies and influential individuals warning that they represented a risk to vulnerable children. The government has now agreed to support opposition amendments, introduced by Labour’s shadow children’s minister Emma Lewell-Buck, to remove the proposals from the bill.
A statement issued by the Department for Education confirmed the move saying: “The Children and Social Work Bill makes huge steps forward in providing vulnerable children with protection to keep them safe, as well as the support they need as they prepare for adulthood. It will support and strengthen the social work profession, giving it a dedicated regulator, committed to raising professional standards.
“We have listened to concerns raised about introducing the power to innovate, which would have meant councils could test new approaches in order to support the country’s most vulnerable children. In recognition of this we are not taking forward that particular aspect of the bill.”