The government could take control of Haringey children’s services if the safeguarding review ordered by the Department for Children, Schools and Families finds serious failings, a leading social work expert has predicted.
Ray Jones said the “extreme measure” would be a last resort for the DCSF, which ordered the probe by Ofsted, the Healthcare Commission and the Chief Inspector of Constabulary after the verdicts in the Baby P case. It is due to report by 1 December.
Social services first
Jones, professor of social work at Kingston University, said a government takeover at Haringey would be a first for social services, pointing out that this had been applied only to failing schools.
Outlining other possible outcomes, Jones said capacity could be enhanced by bringing in consultants, or support from other authorities, while managers and directors could be removed from their posts.
Haringey director of children’s services Sharon Shoesmith has faced repeated calls for her resignation since the end of the trial into Baby P’s death last week.
But Jones, a former Wiltshire Council social services director, warned: “The media frenzy has triggered a collective panic in which politicians wish to be seen to be doing something, and they are in danger of losing some balance along the way.”