Child Protecton - a career to stay well away from!

#1
A reporter for the Channel 4 ‘Despatches’ programme investigates allegations that child protection procedures in the United Kingdom continue to be inadequate. Working undercover in Surry County Council Social Services Departments the report reveals a lack of resources, inadequate staff support and training, high workloads, poor morale and overwhelming amounts of red tape and 'box-ticking', reducing the time that social workers can spend helping children.

One wonders whether Surrey County Council would have sought an injunction to prevent the broadcast if Channel 4 had allowed them to preview the programme beforehand. Given that the filming was carried out prior to the general election, one can only speculate on how much worse the position will become when Local Authorities have to find financial savings.

The programme was broadcast nationally on 7 June 2010 and is currently available to watch on the 'More 4' website.

Little wonder that some judges in the family courts have lost faith in Local Authority Social Workers. The whole system of child protection in the United Kingdom, one of the world's richest nations, would not be out of place in a Banana Republic!

See, in similar vein, Winston Smith's blog Working with the Underclass which won the 2010 George Orwell award.
 
#2
Ah, But at least we have 'small government' and less of a burden on the taxpayer. Isn't that what matters, after all?
 
#4
#5
Mobat said:
smartascarrots said:
Ah, But at least we have 'small government' and less of a burden on the taxpayer. Isn't that what matters, after all?
Not when they made the program; see http://www.channel4.com/programmes/dispatches/articles/undercover-social-worker-making-the-programme
“Undercover Social Worker was more than a year in the making,”

So the situation it describes is the one that was created by Labour.
Yeah, 'coz it's a party political matter and not one of disgraceful governance by all incumbents.

No wonder this country's going down the shitter when all we can think to do is point at our least favourite bunch of shysters and shout 'Your fault'.
 

OldSnowy

LE
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#6
Astonishing! Trying to pin failures in Local Council services on the new Government. It's LABOUR that instituted the regime of box-ticking and target-setting - I've seen what it's done to the NHS, despite a firehose of money being poured onto it.

I wonder what the situation is in other Counties, given that surrey probably doesn't have a massive problem in comparison to many others?
 
#7
Child protection in most countries in inadequate.....it's criminal. Poor funding, horrendous case loads, far too much red tape, and lack of secure accommodation for crisis cases, and that's only the tip of the iceberg.

I haven't seen the programme, but judging by the thread there seems to be the usual Tory/Labour bun fight going on! Child abuse will continue regardless of the party is in power. Quite frankly, you could throw as much money as you like at this and still have a problem. The core issue that needs to be addressed are the so called adults who have access to these kids. In my experience the courts will only intervene in the most extreme cases, whereas early intervention in the majority of cases is the only valid course of action. After all, who is society protecting here? Surely it must be the child.
 
#8
Not to say that there are NO differences, but I would question how different the child protection situation really is in Scotland, where local government, health and justice are all devolved matters and where the devolved government has been since 2007 in the hands of a minority SNP administration and was previously run by a Labour-Lib Dem coalition.
 
#9
Child protection matters are run by local authorities. For example in London, it would be the relevant London Borough. In Surrey, I assume it's Surrey County Council although it could also be one of the town Councils such as Guildford, Aldershot or Woking etc. Although child protection is a statutory duty for the local Authority, they pretty much set their own allocation of funds, staffing, operational policies and working practices although of course, there are guidlelines and other conventions that they follow. Some of these are set by Central Government, some by professional bodies and then of course there are peer working groups that disseminate information between themselves.

The bottom line is though, that if a child protection department is not doing what it should be doing, i.e. properly protecting children, the buck must stop with the managers running the department and the elected members who set the policies for the department. They run the show and they have the responibility for child protection in their area.

Central Government set's very stringent rules for child protection and there is an inspection process for child protection departments that takes place every so often. Sadly though, as the occasional tragety of a child's death shows us, there can be problems.

I personally welcome whistle blowing programs because they do help to try and keep people on their toes and where problems are found through them, immediate remedial steps can be put in place to fix problems.
 
#10
I felt a degree of sympathy for the social workers on the undercover investigation. Massive workloads, red tape, a culture of arse covering; that's only scratching the surface. Dealing with child protection issues on an almost daily basis as I do, it is an absolute minefield, both practically and politically.

The staff on the prog appeared to be doing their best with minimal resources and a total lack of support from management. I would not do their job for all the tea in China. Being a copper, I am no fan of social workers, ut they have my sympathies on this one. Child protection in this country , to use common parlance, is not a 'good place to be'
 
#11
hackle said:
Not to say that there are NO differences, but I would question how different the child protection situation really is in Scotland, where local government, health and justice are all devolved matters and where the devolved government has been since 2007 in the hands of a minority SNP administration and was previously run by a Labour-Lib Dem coalition.
I don't think Scotland can claim to be any better or worse in this respect. There have been a number of cases in recent years where inadequate f*ckwit parents have killed their child and indeed, in the last week, a mother was jailed for dipping her baby's dummy in methadone to "soothe" the child (nearly killing it) and a father was aquitted after sticking a baby wipe up his baby son's rectum to save him having to change the child's nappy so often. In so doing, he ruptured the boy's bowel. Watch BBC Scotland's "The Scheme" to see the type of people we're talking about here.

Personally, I wouldn't do a child protection officer's job for all the tea in China. If they take a child into care, they're Nazi child snatchers (copyright Daily Mail), if they leave the child in the home and it is injured or killed, they're uncaring, incompetent buffoons (copyright Daily Mail).

The fact is that they're relying on the most unreliable people in our society to look after their kids in an acceptable manner. These are people who let their dogs shit in their houses, who wouldn't know how to boil an egg, wash their clothes, have major issues with alcohol and drugs, have no concept of personal responsibility or respect for any authority. And they exist in their thousands in England, Scotland, Wales and NI.
 
#12
think I'd last a morning in child protection
where are you going with that pick helm and nail gun? :twisted:
 
#13
"Child protection matters are run by local authorities."

Except of course where the outrage is potentially damaging to the government of the day, remember the furore of Ed Balls (Secretary for Children, Schools and Families) requesting that Sharon Shoesmith be dismissed?
 
#15
On the other hand,you could get to meet people who's ideas about child rearing are in sharp contrast to your own.And thus offer an alternate viewpoint.

 
#16
bobthedog said:
"Child protection matters are run by local authorities."

Except of course where the outrage is potentially damaging to the government of the day, remember the furore of Ed Balls (Secretary for Children, Schools and Families) requesting that Sharon Shoesmith be dismissed?
.

A good move I thought, given the prevelance of managers like shoesmith willing to evade responsibility by laying the blame for acts and omissions on junior staff which were competent enough to be burdened with cases too numerous to handle with a result that was almost inevitable. The difficulty with state paternalism is that it is never funded nor structured to deal effectively with what it aspires to achieve. Good social workers with any talent at all do not last long in the profession - they take their talents elsewhere, and quite right too. My next door neighbour, a bright, intelligent and idealistic young woman wasted a great deal of time and money qualifying as a social worker. She lasted about 12 months in the job and left sadly disallusioned, bitter and cynical. After having watched the programme, I cannot say I blame her at all.
 
#17
bobthedog said:
"Child protection matters are run by local authorities."

Except of course where the outrage is potentially damaging to the government of the day, remember the furore of Ed Balls (Secretary for Children, Schools and Families) requesting that Sharon Shoesmith be dismissed?
The Government was not responsible for the death and it responded through Ed Balls to the tragic death of a young child. The responsible local authority was Haringey and Shoesmith was the senior manager who was in charge of the department. Shoesmith was sacked because Balls called for her dismissal. Rightly so in my view.
 
#18
jarrod248 said:
Social workers spend too much time filling out reams of paperwork, rahther than spending time with the families.
A social worker I know works in a team looking after the elderly, they also have to fiddle paperwork. It seems patients need x number of points to get care, so they have to make up things to get just £1k per year for care. So patients will be listed as having conditions they don't have. Ludicrous and social workers are being accountants. Social workers need to be doing social work, that's what they are trained to do.
If they spent time with patients many of the items in the news wouldn't be.
Spot on there. On the other hand, I am a :? bobby doing a social workers job!!
 
#19
Shoesmith was not responsible for the childs death, that honour goes to his mother and the Barker brothers, she was responsible for administrating the system put in place by government, a system designed to produce good reports. It was a system in which the system itself was the primary concern, as long as it worked any failing could be covered, appropriate scapegoats could be provided.
 
#20
CQMS said:
Shoesmith was not responsible for the childs death, that honour goes to his mother and the Barker brothers, she was responsible for administrating the system put in place by government, a system designed to produce good reports. It was a system in which the system itself was the primary concern, as long as it worked any failing could be covered, appropriate scapegoats could be provided.
It doesn't matter who designed the system. In her position she must have been aware of all of these issues. Had she possessed any integrity whatsoever, she'd have blown the whistle herself. She didn't. She was sacked by her own kind. The fact that she lost her appeal supports her removal.
 

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