Unison has accused Vale of Glamorgan Council of scapegoating social workers and ignoring “systemic failures”, after this week’s report into how a teenage sex offender was placed with a family whose children he then abused.
The union said that senior managers had ignored social workers’ concerns over several years about the alleged failings.
The report, which followed an internal inquiry, criticised the council’s leaving care team for failing to carry out a risk assessment on the teenager or pass on key information to the adult placement service.
Social work staff suspended
Three social services staff were suspended after its publication, while social workers have been referred to the Care Council for Wales on grounds of potential misconduct.
After the report’s publication, social services director Philip Evans said: “Some of our staff did not meet their individual and collective responsibilities for taking action to protect children.”
However, Unison accused the council of ignoring the history of case and trying to pin the blame “solely on the shoulders of individual social workers”.
‘Against natural justice’
Unison Wales regional manager Dawn Bowden said: “Before any internal disciplinary processes have been completed, the director of social services has pronounced our members guilty as charged. This is against the principles of natural justice. We will not allow our members to be scapegoated in this way.”
She called for the planned serious case review into the placement to deal with the department’s alleged systemic failures.
Evans said: “In response to the justified criticisms in the report, the council as a whole has accepted responsibility but individual social workers and managers are also accountable for the quality of their work, not only to their employers but also, potentially, to the Care Council for Wales. The council will follow all the proper processes in dealing with these issues.”
He added that the NSPCC had provided independent scrutiny of the inquiry and found that it had been “rigorous”.
The council’s chief executive, John Maitland Evans, said: “We would appreciate a direct approach from Unison so that we can hear from them the exact nature of their concerns and any evidence they may have.”