Liverpool field social workers threatened with criminal charges

Liverpool field social workers have been threatened with
criminal charges if they disrupt children’s services on account of
a walkout by residential workers which took place three weeks
ago.Unison says field workers will carry out statutory duties but
are threatening to stop reviewing or visiting children who have
been moved into foster homes and other units without staff
input.Liverpool’s social services director Vic Citarella has
written to field social workers warning them they face a fine or
imprisonment if they ignore their statutory responsibilities to
children in care.He wrote that social workers would be committing a
criminal offence under the Trades Union and Labour Relations
(Consolidation) Act if they refused to visit children who had been
moved during the strike or failed to review their placements. The
council has already accused striking residential workers of
breaking another section of the same act by causing harm to, and
affecting the health of, children and service users (News, 31
August).But a spokesperson for the Liverpool branch of Unison said:
It’s management that is causing the harm.’ Last week residential
workers in children’s homes, mental health hostels and supported
accommodation for people with learning difficulties voted
unanimously to continue the strike over the social services
department’s increased use of casual and agency staff.Unison said
day care and training section staff have also decided to join the
strike.The city council claimed 69 strikers have returned to work
but Unison countered that no residential staff had broken the
strike. The union has exempted a handful of workers from the
industrial action.

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