Union claims children at risk given `fictitious` social workers

    Union members in Devon have claimed some children at risk are
    being allocated fictitious social workers as evidence of a crisis
    in the council’s children’s services, by David

    They claim that pseudonyms have been created for social workers
    who do not exist because there is not enough staff to cope with the
    number of child care cases.

    Bernie Crean, senior Unison shop steward, warned that a child
    could die unless the service was better resourced. He said social
    workers in the child care teams would be balloted on strike action
    unless the council provided more investment in the service.

    “We genuinely believe that the environment exists for a tragedy
    to happen, and we don’t believe this is fair on our staff,” he

    “They have been placing cases under fictitious names when they
    should have a named social worker,” said Crean. He said one example
    of a false name was ‘Mr T. Child’.

    He also said there has been a dramatic increase in stress
    suffered by staff battling with huge caseloads.

    But David Padfield, the council’s deputy social services
    director, said no children on the child protection register had
    been allocated a fictitious social worker.

    He said under the IT system currently used by the council each
    case had to be allocated to a name, and sometimes it is necessary
    to create a false one. A new system was being planned, he said.

    “It is simply an administrative exercise. It is just that the
    system needs a name for it to be recorded.

    “There is no policy to use fictitious names for children who are
    under child protection,” Padfield said.




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