New child protection guidance has been criticised for failing to recognise the importance of the role played by social workers.
Nushra Mapstone (pictured), professional officer at the British Association of Social Workers England, said the updated Working Together to Safeguard Children guidance was “disappointing”.
She said the government document ignored social work until the fifth chapter, instead focusing on the “nebulous” concept of “child social care”. She added it was not the right time to dispense with the child protection register, as announced in the guidance, because of all the other reforms in children’s services.
She described the 240-page document as “badly written” and not a practical tool for social workers.
The guidance also fails to specify that social workers should chair case conferences, saying only that it should be a “professional”.
Mapstone said: “Who else could do it? In reality, knowing how child protection works, the people that are best placed would be social workers.”
She added: “It’s not giving an emphatic, positive message about the role of the social worker. That’s where we feel quite let down. When we’ve had child deaths people have been confused about social work and our role. This was an opportunity to spell it out and give the right message and it’s a lost opportunity.”