Morale at Swansea’s children’s team at ‘rock bottom’

Morale at Swansea Council’s children and families department has hit “rock bottom” after one of its practitioners was barred for misconduct, according to the British Association of Social Workers.

BASW Cymru said many social workers were “seriously considering” leaving the department after a Care Council for Wales conduct committee removed Eleni Cordingley from the register for her handling of a child protection case. The practitioner of ten years’ experience became the seventh social worker to be struck off in Wales and the fourth to be barred for poor practice. 

The committee found Cordingley placed 13-month-old Aaron Gilbert at risk by failing to act appropriately on two anonymous phonecalls raising concerns about the boy’s safety. The calls were made between 27 April and 5 May 2005 and Aaron died in hospital on 5 May 2005 with a post-mortem revealing a total of 50 injuries on his body, including brain damage.

Aaron’s stepfather, Andrew Lloyd, 25, was jailed for 24 years in 2006 after admitting murdering the child. His mother, Rebecca Lewis, 23, received six years for familial homicide.  

BASW Cymru predicted major recruitment problems in child protection, and added that many social workers were already moving to other areas of practice. 

“The overall morale of social workers in children and families in Wales is very low. People are very nervous of making mistakes and feel they’re under terrible scrutiny,” a spokeswoman told this week. “If we’re going to do the job effectively we need to take the bureaucratic burdens away. There’s too much paperwork.”

A serious case review published in 2007 into the Aaron Gilbert case found a significant lack of co-operation between police, health and social workers.

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