Social workers to face five years in prison for failing to protect children from sexual abuse, warns Cameron

Prime minister will announce consultation on whether criminal charge for wilful neglect should be extended across children's social care

Photo: Ray Tang/Rex Features
Photo: Ray Tang/Rex Features

Children’s social workers could face up to five years in prison for failing to protect children from sexual exploitation, the prime minister will announce today.

Speaking at a Downing Street summit later today, David Cameron will outline plans for the government to consult on extending the criminal offence of wilful neglect to children’s social care, education and elected council members.

Currently, a criminal charge for wilful neglect – as introduced in the Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015 – would only apply to professionals who work in adult social care and health workers providing care for adults and children.

The criminal charge for wilful neglect carries a maximum jail term of five years.

The announcement will come on the same day that a serious case review is published into child sexual exploitation (CSE) in Oxfordshire. It follows major CSE investigations, which revealed social work failings in Rotherham, Rochdale and Derby.

“Unequivocal message”

Cameron will say the proposals send an “unequivocal message” that professionals who fail to protect children will be held accountable.

“It is about making sure that the professionals we charge with protecting our children – the council staff, police officer and social workers – do the job they are paid to do.”

“Offenders must no longer be able to use the system to hide their despicable activities and survivors of child sexual abuse must be given the long-term therapeutic treatment they need to re-build their lives,” he will say.

Other proposals include a new child sexual abuse taskforce of professional troubleshooting experts in social work, law enforcement and health. The taskforce would support local areas at every level in an attempt to eradicate the “culture of denial”, which meant victims were disbelieved and even blamed in places like Rotherham.

Whistleblowing helpline

Social workers will be given access to a new national whistleblowing helpline to report bad practice, which will seek to prevent child sexual exploitation (CSE) being hidden and ignored – as seen in the damning reports into CSE in Rotherham and Rochdale.

Cameron also wants to clamp down on “huge pay-offs” for senior staff and council staff who failed to protect children. He will propose that exit payments can be “clawed back” where those people are quickly re-employed in the same part of the public sector.

Child sexual abuse will be prioritised as a national threat, like serious and organised crime, he will say. This means police will have a duty to collaborate across force boundaries. Funding of £7m will be given to organisations in 2015-16 to support victims of sexual abuse.


Maris Stratulis, England manager at the British Association of Social Workers, said the organisation totally supports public accountability and transparency. However, she said further discussion is needed about what the legal threshold of individual and corporate responsibility is.

“It is totally unacceptable for institutions to attempt to cover up abuse of children to protect their reputation,” she said, “But we have to acknowledge these days being a senior member of staff in the public sector carries a lot of responsibility and risk.”

Similarly, David Simmonds of the Local Government Association agreed those responsible for failing vulnerable children should be held to account. But he added: “We need to move on from the muddle situation councils currently face so the detail of today’s proposals is important to get right.”

However, threat to jail frontline workers is not the answer to child sexual exploitation, The College of Social Work has said.

Brigid Featherstone, chair of the college’s children and families faculty, said the move will reinforce a climate of persecution. “The proposals also fail to address the incredibly important safeguarding issues that recent serious case reviews have raised,” said Featherstone.

“We must address the severe lack of investment in child protection services, which has put organisations and systems under incredible strain and reduced their capacity for in depth work with children and their families,” she argued.

Make your voices heard and join Community Care’s campaign to Stand Up For Social Work.

59 Responses to Social workers to face five years in prison for failing to protect children from sexual abuse, warns Cameron

  1. Fred March 3, 2015 at 10:56 am #

    Child Safety v tax dodgers

    I would be happy to face criminal charges for neglecting child protection cases provided it was fair.

    So if Cameron and Greasy Osborne also faced the possibility of jail for savagely cutting the funding of child protection services (whilst giving tax hand outs to the bankers in charge of directing rich clients to Swiss Banks as a means of tax dodging) I would be quite happy

    • jim kenny March 4, 2015 at 9:48 am #

      Well said.

      • GLORIA March 4, 2015 at 10:56 am #

        Absobloodylutely right.
        Let’s also imprison them for wilfull neglect of the elderly, disabled, homeless and children having a proper education.
        If the monies were going to the right places, this discussion probably wouldn’t be needed.
        Also, just a small aside to this, why would you put a social worker in Nick for 5 yrs when most convicted abusers get less?

    • Dee March 4, 2015 at 11:18 am #

      Well said!!!

      My fear is that there will be scapegoats & innocent people wrongly accused. I hope this means an increase in the numbet of social workers & other child care workers!
      My fear that this is another government lip service ploy

  2. Paul Roffey March 3, 2015 at 10:56 am #

    Long overdue, maybe now the protection of children will take priority over all other considerations and managers will demand more honesty and candour about the nature of risk

    • anon March 4, 2015 at 1:39 pm #

      Agree with the above

    • Kate March 11, 2015 at 5:27 pm #

      I agree with Paul

  3. Jim Greer March 3, 2015 at 11:06 am #

    Sadly this sounds very much like the ‘duty of candour’ which has been placed on health workers making them responsible for reporting patient neglect. Measures like this put undue responsibility and pressure into basic grade workers who may already be having to deal with inadequate resources and bullying management cultures. The reports in Rotherham indicate that there was a culture of bullying and sexism in the authority. I don’t think these measures deal with that adequately even with the inclusion of whistleblowing helpline. It was obvious that the failure to deal with abuse by gangs in these cases was at an institutional level and I would have liked to have seen institutions being made more responsible for their actions rather than measures which criminalize individuals.

  4. LD March 3, 2015 at 11:11 am #

    Until we have a Whistle Blowing Policy that actually works and protects workers, how dare the government plan such action against us ! The government know we are persecuted when we raise concerns but do nothing about it. The current Whistle Blowing Policy is as helpful as toilet paper !

  5. Jack Young March 3, 2015 at 11:11 am #

    This is a worrying distortion of the spirit of an existing law. Social workers are not responsible for the children in the families they support/investigate (delete as appropriate!) in the same sense that nursing home staff, for example, are responsible for the adults in their 24-hour care. It’s an entirely different sort of situation. The prospect of prison sentences for social workers over “failing to protect” is deeply worrying. It ignores everything we know about “thresholds”, about balancing the risk of intervention with the risk of non-intervention. It ignores the fact that the vast majority of social workers (and teachers, nurses etc.) go into the job to try to help, they want to do a good job. It ignores the fact that they are already under immense pressure from all sides. (I’m defending them here and I don’t deny that there are big things wrong with the system and that individual social workers play their part in perpetuating that, but that is not a criminal offence. It is more a matter of lack of reflective awareness or something? And Cameron here is showing a greater lack still!) And it ignores the principle of allowing “professionals” space to make judgements, to the best of their ability, to sometimes get things wrong, to learn – a principle that doctors are aware of (I was once told by a French doctor “je suis medecin, je peux tromper” – “I am a doctor, I can be wrong”). Doctors are given that space because they are still given very high status by society, they are not under attack in the way that social workers are. Who is going to want to do this job, the way things are going? Cameron’s statement is taking things completely in the wrong direction. It will drive away more potentially really good social workers.

  6. emma March 3, 2015 at 11:21 am #

    Hows about 5 yr prison sentence every time a child is deprived or starved or neglected for each and every devistating cut your government keeps on implementing. Because in fairness you are responsible for the suffering of a lot more children than any one individual social worker mr C.

    • Claire scott March 3, 2015 at 11:59 pm #

      Just thinking the exact same thing Emma. You took the words right out of my mouth.

    • kathy March 5, 2015 at 1:34 pm #

      I agree with you Emma

  7. TJHA 1 March 3, 2015 at 11:26 am #

    I would like to know if the same applies to the social work managers and senior managers who supressed the reported sexual exploitation of children due to ‘cultural sensitivity’, or should they, perhaps, get longer?

  8. Nicholas Lillie March 3, 2015 at 11:45 am #

    I do believe that where the action or inaction that led to the neglect was down to the social workers own actions then the legal penalty is fair – after all it applies to staff working in care homes, children;s services etc who fail to act in similar circumstances. But when many social workers are pressured from above and not given the support they need, are given excessive caseloads making it impossible for them to give all cases the attention needed – then some action needs to be taken against those who put them in that situation in the first place.
    Mr Cameron should look at why the problem is occurring and address that first- but that would involve him actually putting some finance into the social care field – will never happen.

  9. Jacob Daly March 3, 2015 at 12:13 pm #

    This is a worrying development particularly given the state of public services. Unprecendented levels of regulation to oversee the delivery of the impossible. Perhaps we ought to now introduce a law which blames social workers for absolutely everything that goes wrong? Maybe this is what the Prime Minister (and indeed the Leader of the Official Opposition) intend? I am concerned that the task of social work is no longer feasible. May be the solution to the problems we now face is to make MP’s directly responsible. Put it in their code of practice and when things go wrong, then they can be brought before a regulatory framework, publically shamed and more importantly blamed for the actual ill. This way, it all seems very straightforward. That way we dont have to look at the causes, just find someone to blame. Another huge step for social work in the wrong direction of course but very helpful in terms of absolving politiicans for responsibilities on a macro level.

  10. AMBWales March 3, 2015 at 12:18 pm #

    As a qualified social worker for 20 years working in children’s services I agree that we should be accountable if we ‘wilfully’ neglect to protect children, however, what this doesn’t take account of is the severe cuts in children’s services over many years and the demonization of social workers to the extent that the people are leaving the profession in droves. I think this will impact on people considering a career in social work.

    • sabCumbria March 3, 2015 at 3:40 pm #

      I agree with AMB particularly over the demonization of social workers. Looking at the various reports over the last number of years just from Lamming we see that social workers have been punished and held accountable where other agencies/ workers have not had anything like the same criticism Police, Health, etc. This is an issue for the whole of society and vilifying one particular part of it will not help the issue.

    • TM March 4, 2015 at 7:27 am #

      I work with social workers and most of them are burdened with an unmanageable case load. It has put myself and other people I know off becoming one. The children and young people need new social workers to enter the system to prevent apathy along with more funding into the system. Stop demonising social workers and using them as scape goats.

  11. Sandy Beach March 3, 2015 at 12:22 pm #

    This is despairing?
    In my time I have on numerous occasions taken issues of concern to management, to be told it’s not our role, we have no were to place a child, to close a case, or CAF it, to make capacity in the team. Who would be criminalised, if someone made a complaint, myself, or my manager?
    We have a massive issue with resources and poor management, bullying and no whistleblowing support, overwork, and poor post training opportunities, not sure how criminalising an aspect of our job will improve this, just watching the daily politics show now and they can see some of the limitations of this, and are noting that SWs are leaving due to unclear work expectations.

  12. Lorna Fitzpatrick March 3, 2015 at 12:33 pm #

    Does he think this will win him votes?

  13. sabine ebert-forbes March 3, 2015 at 1:15 pm #

    He’s lost the plot
    Carrots for the likes of him, and the stick for everyone else. He and his outfit have caused the mess we are increasingly in through cutting back services.

  14. ST March 3, 2015 at 2:22 pm #

    On one of my first mornings on the duty desk as a newly-qualified social worker in 1989, I recall taking a call from a concerned parent. Her 15-year-old daughter had a boyfriend who was quite a bit older than her. He drove a flash car and bought her presents of clothes that her mother couldn’t possibly afford, as well as plying her with alcohol and cannabis. The mother had contacted the police who, as she put it, “weren’t interested”. I spoke to my manager: she was “making her own choices”, and I was an overly suspicious “women’s libber”. I don’t think the word ‘grooming’ existed then but I have never forgotten having to tell that mother that I sympathised and understood her suspicions, but could do nothing other than ensure she had contact details for Women’s Aid and Rape Crisis.

    This may have been nothing. It may have been that a young man in his 20s had genuinely fallen for a girl up to 10 years his junior. I doubted it then and I doubt it now, but – once my manager had belittled my concerns – I had nowhere to go within the organisational structures. It is still the case that if we have practice concerns that aren’t recognised/shared by our managers, we really have nowhere to go with them. As frontline workers we bear all the responsibility, and we are the ones who are haunted by our impotence. The HCPC and TCSW are not interested in supporting individual workers with their practice dilemmas (quite the opposite, to judge by the reports of HCPC disciplinary hearings).

    Now, as the physical and financial resources for social work with children, families and communities are deliberately squeezed ever more harshly by his government’s policies, Cameron plans to criminalise social workers for the consequences of enduring organisational, policy and resource failures. Surely this is some kind of Kafka-esque nightmare from which we must soon wake up?

    • The wise owl March 3, 2015 at 6:08 pm #

      Hear hear! Cameron is cutting resources from Frontline social work while supporting the payment of extravagant bonuses to fat cat bankers who got us into this mess in the first place! By the way why aren’t nurses and doctors being held to the same standard of accountability?

      Far from being a vote winner this will certainly lose you votes David!

  15. J.R. Lord March 3, 2015 at 2:49 pm #

    Accountability Yes but not persecution

  16. Richard Howarth March 3, 2015 at 2:53 pm #

    Not a particularly helpful response from the PM. Funding for a dedicated, professionally trained/specialist workforce in this particularly difficult and stressful area of work would be a useful starting point for the PM and should be a guaranteed pre-requisite. Specialist Management/Supervision and training will be of equal importance as will specialist training for workers in ‘allied’ professions, including Police, Education and Health. I think we have witnessed, too often, the sad reality of children and young people being let down through a poorly structured, poorly managed and underfunded system. Securing the best workers, ensuring manageable caseloads and guaranteeing dedicated systems of ‘quality’ management, supervision and training will cost – falling to achieve this will only result in further erosion of a falling system. The remedy rests with Government – their choice. What price the lives and futures of children?

  17. Pete d March 3, 2015 at 3:01 pm #

    Maybe the so called prime minister should look at himself and his party,as well as the police and senior members of social services.
    Before they look for scapegoats in others. That goes for every political party also you are all as bad as each other. Poor social workers do all the work for less money and constantly battleling against the powers that be, with no support or funding Mr C you are a disgrace and as clueless as all who came before you and most likely all who follow

  18. Pete d March 3, 2015 at 3:01 pm #

    Maybe the so called prime minister should look at himself and his party,as well as the police and senior members of social services.
    Before they look for scapegoats in others. That goes for every political party also you are all as bad as each other. Poor social workers do all the work for less money and constantly battleling against the powers that be, with no support or funding Mr C you are a disgrace and as clueless as all who came before you and most likely all who follow

  19. Matt Fish March 3, 2015 at 5:22 pm #

    This really worries me. Pressure and stress is so high in social services, and this pressure probably played a significant role in the Rotherham problem. It is interesting that in one hand the coalition takes away social resources/support, then in the other punishes the service that is supposed to serve society. Protecting oneself from blame and accountability is what underlies a lot of the paperwork that social workers have to complete…and this paperwork takes social workers away from being able to do real social work, and hence miss things such as sexual exploitation. If this plan goes through then there will be a greater need to protect and justify work, and hence more paperwork, thus more things missed.

  20. Charlotte Peters Rock March 3, 2015 at 5:41 pm #

    So every professional will lurch to the ‘Child Sexual Abuse’ side of the boat, completely ignoring starvation, broken legs, black eyes, will they?

    We need full professional individual accountability by every individual social worker.

    It is their job to protect.

    That means that where their bosses refuse to protect, they need to take this to their union, to get support and then get on with protecting.

    Unless people are brave and responsible enough to do that, we will always have our children severely let down.

    Its ‘mortgages’ and ‘a quiet life’ that make sure our children suffer.

    • anon March 4, 2015 at 5:41 pm #

      Not sure what type of social worker you are but ‘quiet life’ is definitely not part of my 60 hour week as safeguarding social worker. Find your comments insulting with no substance to support them

  21. Social worker March 3, 2015 at 5:54 pm #

    If we had the powers and resources and funding protect we could do our job to the highest standard, the fool prime minister has no clue social workers would leave and children would be at further risk. Prime minster needs a new job me thinks and he needs to realise he is putting children at risk with his government funding and budget cuts he should then go to prison for 5 years. Thank goodness I never voted for him and never will

  22. PK March 3, 2015 at 6:11 pm #

    Why are social workers taught and trained on how to care for children yet get asked by management to manage cases on a cost basis and not consider the care of the child as the local authorities cannot afford to care for the child. I am pretty sure there was no accounting module in the training.

  23. Ian Merry March 3, 2015 at 6:14 pm #

    I did not walk on by when children in a residential school in the 1980’s were being sexually, physically and emotionally abused by members of staff.

    I could not walk on by so I blew the whistle on what was going on. An inept and perfunctory independent investigation took place which called me a liar. 30 years later I was proved right but not before this experience blighted my life and career.

    I am now living in enforced retirement on a very small pension whilst the hundreds of other staff working in that environment did nothing. They all denied the abuse was happening and kept quiet.

    Elie Wiesel wrote, “I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented”.

    I did not remain silent but spoke out against the abuse of children whilst my silent peers have gone on to successful careers, with substantial pensions, much of which is paid for out of public funds.

    I am now so poverty stricken that I have had to visit food banks to supplement my meagre income….so much for whistleblowing and doing the right thing.

    There should be no bystanders when preventable suffering of children is concerned and I welcome this initiative which has come too late for me but may act as an incentive for others to speak out.

  24. Frank Bristow March 3, 2015 at 6:46 pm #

    Well, you know who not to vote for come May

  25. tanya Hawkins March 3, 2015 at 6:51 pm #

    As a professional I have always acted in a child focused way with the child at the centre of my practice however, this blanket statement by David Cameron fails to consider the issues which people have already commented on which makes the job extremely difficult and the pressures faced because of decisions by the government. This action will provide a culture of fear and decisions being made which will not secure better outcomes for children and vilify workers with good intentions. Surely, the HCPC is there to scrutinise and monitor practitioners. The proposed plan is a knee jerk reaction and will impact negatively on recruitment and retention.

  26. Karin March 3, 2015 at 7:06 pm #

    ok fair enough. But in that case should politicians face culpable responsibility for the lives they have destroyed?

  27. Natalie March 3, 2015 at 7:24 pm #

    And what penalty will you face Mr Cameron for front line cuts to social workers and other professionals that do their upmost to serve and protect the vulnerable children in our society…?

    Maybe if Mr Cameron spent a few days visiting the homes of severe poverty in the most deprived areas of England he would think twice before sitting in his cosy accommodation at no. 10 making sweeping statements and criticisms!

  28. Kelly Burgess March 3, 2015 at 7:32 pm #

    Cameron and his ilk need to make the needs of children as their priority, regardless of whether there is an imminent election. It should not matter which party is elected, child protection is the responsibility of EVERYONE.
    Surely his advisors have read the SCR report before allowing him to comment, but the second paragraph of the report states “The Serious Case Review (SCR) has seen no evidence of wilful professional neglect or misconduct by organisations, but there was at times a worrying lack of curiosity and follow through”.
    So rather than trying to make out that he gives a stuff about vulnerable children and their families and making headline-grabbing statements of commitments to punishing the professionals, he needs to look a little more closer to home (or work) as to where the responsibilities lie for the appalling things these young people had to endure and continue to endure.

  29. Jeff March 3, 2015 at 9:11 pm #

    Low pay, reduction in staff, blame culture, poor policies and now threat of imprisonment. You would have to be pretty stupid to even consider becoming a social worker these days. Go be a banker, good pay, bonuses and no matter how bad you f’up (crash the worlds economy) you won’t ever have to worry about jail

  30. Poppy March 3, 2015 at 9:37 pm #

    Hope the management get the same sentence as we are just the puppets, the managers pull the strings and tell us what we will do.

  31. Richard March 4, 2015 at 5:54 am #

    Why would anyone in their right mind accept a job where they are underpaid , overworked and now at risk of prison for trying to protect vulnerable people. Social workers are paying for the sins of others who have gone before them. They are also being made scapegoats for inadequate government funding and poor management who are merely undertaking the wishes of their paymaster. (Local Councils/Government). Threatening Social workers with prison will drive people out of the profession. What will the Government do, when there are no social workers to clean up their mess? All those who perpertrate domestic violence, sexual abuse and other forms of abuse must be rubbing their hands with the thought of less social work intervention. When will the British Government wake up and take responsibility for the systemic undermining of social work?

  32. Fred March 4, 2015 at 8:09 am #


    Revealed by the MP expenses scandal let’s not forget that this chap Cameron is the same person who signed to say it was essential for him to do his job as an MP properly to have a climbing plant pruned on one of his numerous country mansions.

    Now he has cut funding of child protection to the bone, and presiding over a huge net pay cut for social workers he wants to lock up social workers for not performing miracles.

    I note that Lord Green, the man in charge of HSBC during the time that bank was facilitating tax dodging was made a knight of the realm and put into Government.

    As Greasy Osborne put it:

    “We are all in it together”. Really?

  33. jim kenny March 4, 2015 at 9:53 am #

    Although in the private care homes sector we have constant issues with social workers, this is the most ridiculous idea I have ever heard.
    It is the same mentality of council officials with care homes. Cut the fees and then hit us with a stick when the standard falls.
    If the Public sector continue to follow the mentality of its Leader, DC, it will demolish the system overall.
    Cameron you need help fast.

  34. Mark March 4, 2015 at 1:13 pm #

    This is wrong! Help them, support them, give them the extra resources not cutting their support! Go jail the bankers who did actual illegal actions! This government is so out of touch with the people.

  35. Liz McAteer March 4, 2015 at 1:49 pm #

    Jail for social workers for wilful neglect? Well how about jail for government ministers for wilful neglect. For sanctioning benefits so children go hungry, having to be fed by foodbanks. Bedroom tax. Making children and their families homeless, particularly children with disabilities who can’t have a ‘spare’ bedroom to accommodate their additional requirements. Cuts to services that support families and which enable social workers to manage the risk to children. No one working within children’s services would claim to be infallible, but delivering services to children in vulnerable circumstances costs money, it can’t be done on the cheap. We may claim there are never enough resources, but this government have cut services to the bone and are now chipping away at the marrow. By doing this they are putting themselves in the dock and in my opinion they are the ones who are guilty of wilful neglect.

  36. Philip Measures March 4, 2015 at 2:41 pm #

    Of the many interesting Posts may I just comment on 2 – was ‘ST’ correct to accept the management decision and do nothing more and was ‘Ian Merry’ (who is well worth inviting to any Conference to expand in more detail his tragic experiences) right to prejudice his career by persisting in ‘whistle blowing’ allegations?

    Are social workers just government automatons or professionals working to a Code of Ethics with moral and humanitarian concerns central to their work?

    If we accept the position of ‘ST’ then social work is dead and meaningless. If we agree that ‘Ian Merry’ was correct then how do we reconcile the use of so many Compromise Agreements and ‘gagging’ Clauses to keep the facts from emerging? You see, we can’t have it both ways and this Government proposal may well just be a smokescreen as how do you prove ‘wilful’ neglect and what about Institutional abuse?

    No social work Referral can be closed without a managers decision – so who is really accountable? Managers have to ensure that all relevent enquiries have been made / investigations undertaken / other agencies consulted / children listened to and spoken with etc.

  37. Sue March 4, 2015 at 4:18 pm #

    I think this is appalling. My daughter works in child protection and works long hours and has a ridiculously huge workload. She is passionate about her job although it is very stressful and emotionally challenging. There are nowhere nearly enough social workers and not surprisingly not enough applicants for vacancies. Social workers have had terrible press in recent years but they should be able to carry out their jobs with more support not threats. Without people like my daughter there would be more children abused.

    • Jazz March 4, 2015 at 7:07 pm #

      Mr. Cameron – I’m am horrified and saddened by your latest rhetoric. I’m not saddened that you are stooping to such levels because I wouldn’t expect less but saddened for UK citizens as you continue to promote a culture of fear in to the general public to vote for you. You had a privileged and expensive education but what a waste as it appears to have left you with such a closed and unkind mind. Neither children nor the professionals dealing with them will benefit from any more punitive and draconian threats. Thatcher instigated policies to control professionals’ freedom such as teachers and those in the NHS to do their jobs now you are starting on social workers. Such social control by politicians is very frightening and reminiscent of very scary regimes both past and present. You need to start trusting professionals who are educated, and trained to do their jobs not judge what you don’t understand. That includes police and social workers working together against institutionalised abuse of all sorts and from all sorts of institutions. We don’t need more laws, we have robust ones already which have been reasoned. We need politicians who understand that professionals working within the existing legal perimeters are enabled through constructive comments and resourcing to protect children.

  38. Wendy Tate March 4, 2015 at 7:50 pm #

    I feel that I have been in the wrong ‘job’ for many years, have given up a career to pursue that of a social worker, I do not feel that I have a choice – that it is a calling. I would hope that I am in the majority. I would say that any decent human being, not just a ‘social worker’ is responsible for safeguarding – if I failed to protect a child from any kind of abuse and I was solely responsible – I would find difficulty in living with myself – I do not need the threat of prison. No-one in the profession would ever allow child abuse to go unreported – it would be against our nature. I would rather investigate and be wrong, than not investigate at all.

  39. Ami March 4, 2015 at 9:10 pm #

    Hmm this is shocking… The pm should think of implementing better support plans in consultation with front line SW to minimise the occurrence of this concern rather than putting fear in them. Shocking I hope he reads these comments.

  40. YS March 4, 2015 at 10:22 pm #

    I cannot believe what Mr C has just said. He needs to reflect on what he has done to encourage such failings before he points the finger at anyone. Senior management sat high up manipulating the system and still receiving recognition for their poor leadership is where he needs to be looking, not frontline workers who are burnt out because of his cuts. I am so glad that I have never voted for him and never will!!! He is clueless about social work and needs to spend a week within a team of social workers on the frontline before he makes such comments.

  41. lisa smith-thomas March 5, 2015 at 4:27 pm #

    I’m sure this will go down well with the Children and Families teams already struggling to attract and retain staff.

  42. Sarah March 5, 2015 at 7:01 pm #

    It is a shame that the true picture of social work in children services is not being considered here. Case loads for social workers are too high, therefore, investment needs to be made by employing more social workers and reducing case loads so that social workers do a better job. The job is stressful enough, however, where a social worker has failed, this should be looked into on a case by case giving the facts of exactly what happened. Politicians should take responsibility for their part in cuts resulting in high case loads.

  43. Jo March 5, 2015 at 7:08 pm #

    Five years for failing children? Well David you have just passed judgement on yourself

  44. LD March 6, 2015 at 9:08 pm #

    I would like to see him do such a hard job. if he goes ahead with this, he may not have any social workers left. No one does this job for the money or to be put in prison. Maybe if he stopped cutting our budgets and services, we could do our jobs much better.

  45. Maz March 7, 2015 at 9:49 pm #

    absolutely disgusted with the govt response this will achieve nothing the front end need support not victimisation. The hcpc is there for a reason and needs to be used. Hopefully this will backfire on this current govt and we shall see the back of them.

  46. Ce Ce March 8, 2015 at 8:34 pm #

    Perhaps Mr Cameron needs to get his own house in order before making such statements. What about these MP’s that have allegedly abused children which has been, and is still being, allegedly covered up.

  47. anon March 10, 2015 at 7:42 pm #

    As a newly qualified SW what about the fact I am holding over 20 plus cases 10 of which are CP..The teams are overworked services are being cut by the Government and YP in desperate need of MH and therapeutic counselling services have to wait over a year for this support. The law should not punish the people who are trying to help and support these families in often extremely difficult situations but the people who actually commit the crime against children by giving harsher punishments as if these cases do ever get to trial the punishment is minimal. Unbelievable that the Government are looking at punishing the people who are trying to help. The Government needs to look at why the perpitrators of abuse are not brought to justice quicker. It’s because the Police are to capacity the CPS don’t bring cases to court because of lack of evidence and when they do get there the judges are to lenient, so there is no deterrent. What happened to tough on crime and the causes of crime. No one enters social work for the glory or the money, it is an extremely difficult job with little reward. Not many SW stay in front line CP and nearly two years in I am beginning to see why. I invite David Cameron to attend a CP conference and listen to some of the case we have to manage in which courts are making it more difficult to bring cases to be heard. Think again Mr Cameron