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Friday, September 25, 1998 Published at 04:52 GMT 05:52 UK


UK

Care revolution revealed

Care home residents are set to get a charter of rights

The government is planning the most radical shake-up of social services in England and Wales for 30 years, the BBC has discovered.


BBC Social Affairs Correspondent Kim Catcheside on the new rules
A leaked draft of a government White Paper says major reform is needed because many local authority social services departments are seriously failing the people they are supposed to look after.

It proposes that the government sets national priorities and standards, including the level of charges made by councils for services such as home helps.


The BBC's Niall Dickson: "... all social services are failing"
Labour is also likely to create a new Long Term Care Charter - similar to the existing Patients Charter - setting out the rights of people in residential care.


[ image: Home helps will face greater regulation]
Home helps will face greater regulation
Major changes are proposed in inspection arrangements. Nine new independent regional authorities are planned, regulating nursing and residential care for adults and children as well as the agencies that deliver care to people's homes.

The government also wants to set up what it calls a General Social Care Council to regulate and improve the training of care workers.

The new body would establish registers of professional social workers as well as staff in children's homes.

Responding to the BBC's reports on the White Paper, the President of the Association of Directors of Social Services, Roy Taylor, welcomed the plans for the social care council and the independent inspection of homes.

One of the biggest challenges, he said, would be to eradicate the inconsistent levels of care across England and Wales.


[ image: A series of child abuse scandals has dented public confidence]
A series of child abuse scandals has dented public confidence
The leak of the White Paper comes only days after Labour announced plans to overhaul services for children in care in the light of a series of abuse scandals in recent years.

Those plans, unveiled on Monday, include the introduction of national guidelines on how social services departments should deal with children in care and extending their responsibilities to 18-year-olds.

The BBC's Social Affairs Editor Niall Dickson says the proposals in the White Paper would mean greater central control of social services.

However, it is clear that ministers believe this approach is necessary to restore public confidence in services that have been much criticised in recent years.



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UK Contents

Northern Ireland
Scotland
Wales
England

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Internet Links


The Department of Health

Personal Social Services Research Unit

British Association of Social Workers

National Institute for Social Work

Central Council for Education and Training in Social Work


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