ENGLAND – Majority of councils have a principal social worker in place


More than two thirds of local authority children’s services have appointed a principal social worker as recommended in the Munro review two years ago.



Principal social workers were recommended in the Munro review. Image: Arlen Connelly/posed by models

A survey by The College of Social Work (TCSW) found that 70 per cent of the 126 children’s social care departments that responded have already designated a principal social worker, with the vast majority of the remainder planning to do so soon.

Of the 30 per cent of children’s departments yet to designate a principal social worker, 75 per cent plan to appoint one in the next three months.

The role, designed to ensure that a senior manager in each local authority is directly involved in frontline services, was recommended in Eileen Munro’s review of child protection in May 2011.

The TCSW survey found that 60 per cent of children’s departments are adding the principal social worker’s duties to an existing role – typically a social work manager, director or head of service, rather than creating a new position.

Respondents said that the aim of the new role includes creating a clear line of communication between frontline staff and senior management, championing best practice and encouraging a “reflective approach” to social work.

A total of 72 per cent of respondents said they intend for their principal social worker to retain a caseload.

Marion Russell, chair of TCSW’s Child and Family Principal Social Work Network, said: “Our survey highlights the progress made in raising standards in child protection and enabling social workers to have their voices heard at the highest levels of local authority management.”

The Munro Review of Child Protection called on local authorities to designate a principal child and family social worker to report the views and experiences of the frontline to all levels of management.


SOURCE: Children & Young People Now

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