College of Social Work to close, citing 'increasing financial pressures'

College to close
College to close

The College of Social Work, a membership charity set up to champion best practice among social workers and represent the profession after the high-profile case of Baby P, has announced plans to close because of "increasing financial pressures".

The charity’s creation was recommended by the Social Work Task Force, set up by the government in 2009 after the death of Baby P, later named as Peter Connelly, a case in north London that led to widespread criticism of the child protection services in the London borough of Haringey.

The college was registered with the Charity Commission in 2013.

According to its entry on the commission’s online register, the charity employs 16 people and reported an income of £1.86m and spending of £1.87m in the year to 31 March 2014.

The charity has previously received funding from government, but this has been stopped, according to a Department of Health spokesman.

"The decision to stop funding the college has not been taken lightly and follows investment of more than £8m since its inception in 2009 to establish it as an independent organisation, able to raise the status and standards of the profession," he said.

"We will continue to work closely with the chief social workers and the profession to champion and challenge the sector over the coming months and years, with a focus on improving standards and supporting professional development."

A joint statement from Jo Cleary, chair of the college, and Annie Hudson, its chief executive, said: "The organisation is now in the winding-down process, which, rather than instant closure, gives us time to close TCSW properly and meet our commitments to members, staff and the social work profession more widely.

"Members are our key priority. We know that people will have questions about their membership, including, for example, the status of their professional indemnity insurance. We are working hard to get clarity on this and will provide regular updates over the coming days and weeks. 

"TCSW’S board and staff team are fully committed to ensuring an orderly transition of the college’s functions, resources and projects to other organisations as appropriate. We will be working closely with government and other organisations on this. So while the details need to be fully worked out, we can assure social workers that they will be able to access college resources through other avenues in the future."

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