Once more to Scandinavia must we go for alternative perspectives on public services. This time our destination is Denmark where social pedagogy offers looked after children a more stable passage through their formative years by pairing them up with a highly qualified social worker.
Barry Sheerman MP, Chair of the Commons Select Committee for Children, Schools and Families has called for fundamental change to social care for young people. Tim Loughton MP, the Shadow Children’s Minister has followed suit by asking that our social services departments are fully resourced and the image of social workers is improved.
In Denmark, social pedagogy is delivered in smaller, more focussed units than we are accustomed to; it’s labour intensive and expensive. But a far higher proportion of their cared for children make it to university, and then on into the economy and society – an area we could undoubtedly do much better at by moving towards the personalisation agenda we have talked about for too long now. A far cry from the status of the profession here, social work is well regarded there.
Social workers in Denmark are as well paid as they are qualified. Our public finances are in a dire state and will be for years to come. So we’ll need creative thoughts as to how we deliver Danish innovation and a motivated workforce without the Danish taxes which for now, at least, we avoid. Any ideas?