How is the system doing?

Key points from recent discussion from the Guardian Social Care Network about the child protection system and how it is faring. Some examples of what said are below:

Misrepresentation of Social Work

Andrew Webb, president of the Association of Directors of Children’s Services: “I agree entirely with the comments about us needing to understand and promote sucess in working with children at risk of harm. But I still get very frustrated by the lack of sustained access for the sector to promote this in the face of all the presumptions about how our systems are failing so many children.”


Building trust between families and the authorities

Cathy Ashley, Chief Executive of the Family Rights Group: “What can make a difference is access to specialist independent advice and advocacy – with advisers who can assist families to navigate the system and consider what is in the child’s interests and what would work, without fear that that the adviser will judge them or has power over them.”


Improving liaison between different organisations

June Thoburn, professor of social work, University of East Anglia: “Working across agencies and professions works best when a ‘team around the family’ approach is used, and that works best when child and family social work teams combine family support and child protection work and are locality based.”

David Niven, of David Niven Associates: “All serious case reviews talk about failures in communication between agencies – this is true but I believe it’s compounded by massive restructuring in most organisations, partly due to the austerity measures, and so the people in different agencies that are meant to liaise with each other now frequently have never met so there is no relationship to built on.”

Carol Long: “Some local authorities already have a multi-agency safeguarding hub or similar which, if they are working effectively, show great promise in identifying cases where children may be at risk. ”

Sue Woolmore, chair, Association of Independent LSCB Chairs: “Local safeguarding children boards have a role to play in creating a culture of information sharing which puts the needs of the child at the centre, rather than allowing workers to feel inhibited by threats of legal action/data protection/confidentiality. This is no easy task and is a real test of how child-centred the system is willing to be.”

5 thoughts on “How is the system doing?

  1. Philip Measures

    I am truly sorry to be negative but this was a heavily moderated Discussion with comments removed – there was a lot of anger and hurt being expressed and the potential value was lost as it seemed that the over-riding aim was to keep it ‘safe’ and relatively bland.

    Some questions were asked but not answered.

    In opening up any discussion on Safeguarding to a wider audience including mainly non-professionals – even if Guardian readers! – anger and venom has to be expected. Social Work ought to remember its roots of seeking to stand alongside the hurt, the wounded, the disadvantaged – instead it too often seems defensive and out-of-touch with those it ought to be working with – and not against.

    The social work (and others) profession continues to lose credibility by using Compromise Agreements and ‘gagging’ Clauses to prevent legitimately raised concerns being acted on. Unless and until we all feel confident that we can raise concerns openly and without personal / professional adverse repercussions then we will not only do social work a dis-service but those who look to us to protect them.

  2. Sarah Phillimore

    All comments welcomed, negative or positive, so long as they are constructive – which yours are.

    I agree.

  3. C

    Anything said or written by Andrew Webb must be viewed with suspicion. The man seems to be a fanatic, incapable of integrity. If his disingenuous statements on InsideOut South East about never having seen any negative outcomes for children who have been adopted were not enough, a look into the background of Stockport Childrens’ Services, which are his direct responsibility reveals the attitudes he inculcates: A primary school built on a brown field asbestos dump, against the wishes of locals, and Social workers who forge the signatures of parents onto documents allowed to remain in their jobs.

    Reporting from 2004: Social services bosses in Stockport , Greater Manchester, have apologised to a family who discovered an official had forged signatures on a report into care of their autistic son. The council then told the couple that the officer responsible is still working for them. Michael and Angela Carroll had discovered their signatures were copied onto Stockport Council’s own edited version of a form, which had left out serious points they wanted to make. The form was to have been a basis of a decision on what help could be given to them as carers for their autistic son Alex, aged 10. The couple complained to the local government ombudsman, and the council offered them £500 compensation. The couple wrote back to the council wanting to know whether the officer had been sacked. The council then confirmed that the officer had not been sacked. Social services director Andrew Webb said ” I am satisfied it was properly investigated, and an important lesson has been learned and appropriate action has been taken to prevent a repetition. “

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