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WELFARE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
9 MARCH 1998
COUNCIL OF SOCIAL WORKERS: PROGRESS REPORT
Dr Lombard, a member of the Council of Social Workers, gave a brief progress report. Two years after the first mediation, an action plan for transformation of the Council into a body in line with the new constitution had been devised. Two "bosberaads" were held in April and May 1997 and a white paper for welfare has been produced, which promotes the idea of an umbrella council for all social welfare.
Action taken has covered the following:
1) Present members (social workers) were registered and 23 consultative meetings were held to find consensus on ways to expand the council so as to accommodate everybody.
2) The need for other social welfare service organisations to be properly consulted. During the year, two workshops were held with child and youth care workers, youth groups, probation and pastoral councillors and other groups. Consensus had been reached to form an umbrella body.
3) The national conference for presenting the report to the Minister.
As a year was "lost" over consultations, the Council had asked for a meeting with the Minister to request an extension. They met instead with the acting Deputy Director of Welfare, and the time frame was considered if legislation was to be put in place by next year. The deadline of 20 March 1998 had been set for consensus to be reached so that the final report could meet the deadline of 20 October 1998.
At question time it was explained that it was very difficult to speed things up because there were about 42 groups involved (fourteen of those were seen last week) and unless proper consultation is done, there could be a backlash. The Council could only meet on 19 March, so timing was extremely tight. They would produce a report with proposals on 20 March. After this, there would be hearings in the Welfare Committee and further consultation before a final report could be made.
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