§ 85. Mr. Atkinson
To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he has received any recent representations from the Association of County Councils about a shortage of qualified social workers.
§ Mrs. Virginia Bottomley
We have no record of recent representations from the Association of County Councils on this issue. We are aware of the problems faced by some local authorities in attracting and retaining suitably qualified staff and of the steps that they, as employers, are taking to improve the position. The response by local authorities to the Department of Health's two training support programmes targeted at staff working with elderly people and those working in the field of child care, indicates that many social services departments will be enabled to increase significantly the number of their staff seconded to social work qualifying courses. The Department will keep under review possible measures to increase intakes to qualifying courses in social work.