Edinburgh Council has formally complained to the Press Complaints Commission about The Daily Mail’s coverage of a row over an adoption case earlier this year.
The newspaper published a series of reports in January and February criticising the council for allowing two children to be removed from their family and adopted by a same-sex couple.
Mail’s coverage named and shamed
The hostile and one-sided tone of the reporting led to Community Care awarding the newspaper the Worst Coverage gong in our first ever media awards for reporting of social work.
The judges highlighted its consistent failure to present both sides of the argument accurately and fairly and criticised the newspaper for targeting and printing photographs of an individual social worker allegedly involved in the case.
“Inaccurate and sensationalised”
A council spokesperson said it would not disclose details of the complaint while correspondence with the PCC was ongoing.
However, Edinburgh Council’s children and families convener, Marilyne Maclaren, commented last month that the coverage was “inaccurate and sensationalised” and had the potential to cause long-term damage to children’s services.
Councillor condemns coverage
She described it as “a tragedy for all children in need of care, with potentially very serious consequences,” adding: “Not only is it destabilising for those at the heart of cases like these, but also discourages other carers from coming forward and that means children may be denied families to care for them.”
Maclaren added: “Of course, we welcome and support the scrutiny that is in place to ensure that councils discharge their responsibilities to vulnerable children, but I strongly condemn ‘convicting’ individual social workers in the way that one of our staff has had to endure.”
Stand Up Now for Social Work
Community Care‘s media awards were launched as part of our Stand Up Now for Social Work campaign, which encourages employers and professionals to take a stand against inaccurate media portrayals of social workers.
Regulator to adjudicate
The PCC is a non-statutory body which monitors journalistic standards of UK newspapers and adjudicates on unresolved complaints between members of the public and the press.
A spokesperson confirmed that the commission was investigating a complaint from Edinburgh Council against The Scottish Daily Mail.
No one at The Daily Mail was available for comment.
Press Complaints Commission