Have your say

This week’s Have your say looks at the issue of service
users being involved in the selection of senior social services

What do you think of the idea of children or other service users
being involved in the selection of senior managers? Do you have any
experience of this idea working?

Have your say and share your experiences with us by clicking here Your
responses will be posted here on March 7.


Last week’s Have your say asked where the buck should
stop for the mishandling of the Victoria Climbie case.

Here are the responses we received:

Senior managers should be made accountable and
not be allowed to stand behind frontline

Peter Bell

Both front line workers and their managers
should take responsibility as appropriate ie. if the field level
social worker hasn’t had the training or their files haven’t been
monitored then their line manager should take some of the
responsibility. If the field level worker has been acting on their
own, ignoring management advice, then they should take
responsibility. If line managers monitor their workers’ work, then
should know what is going on.

Kate Kelly

I am in no doubt that managers should accept
responsibility – that is why they are

Anne Axford

Today blame is all to easily passed from
agency to agency. The tragedy of Victoria makes us in the social
services feel we again have let a child down. The same old
arguments are trotted out, a lack of resources is to blame. I
believe that there is not a genuine understanding nor a commitment
to resource social services to the degree that would be required if
we are to be successful in being more accountable to the public. I
would also ask the question of what Victoria’s parents see as their
role to protect their child. We cannot provide a safe service to
the public that are British, how in God’s name can we look after
people who come from another country. I am not a racist far from it
as I believe our diversity makes the world a more interesting place
but lets get real.


Under funding, under resourcing, lack of
training and experience, high levels of stress and lack of good
team and multi diciplinary working, all played a part in Victoria’s
death. However I think it would be difficult to blame any one
individual for her death. However I think that all of us working
within social care need to take heed of the tragic mistakes that
were made, and the seriousness of the for-mentioned challenges to
those of us who work in social care experience must now be taken
seriously and be addressed by both local and central government.
eg. How many SW offices can say they are fully staffed, with
trained and experienced staff. There is a great deal of publicity
given to the lack of Teachers, nurses etc, and encouragement to
join these professions. However I do not see the same level of
effort being put in to encouraging people to train in social work.
Lisa Arthurworry certainly made some big mistakes as did the
management in this case. But I ask one question. Why was a no level
3 worker allocated this case, and how big was her case

Alison Ward

It is my opinion that the mishandling of
Victoria Climbie’s case should be the responsibility of the senior
managers and not frontline workers.

Dorothy Blissett

1. I think there was a failure of inter-agency
working. I believe that hospital staff had the clearest evidence of
abuse and should not have allowed Victoria to go home.

2. Managers must take responsibility for not providing adequate
supervision and monitoring. Social workers are not yet registered
professionals with their own professional body and their own
personal indemnity. Managers must take

Jennifer Weinstein


The responsibility for Victoria Climbie’s
death lies with her aunt and uncle who where the people who harmed
her – no-one else. Agencies may have made mistakes in recognising
what had gone on but these, I assume, were unintentional. If those
2 adults had not abused Victoria then she wouldn’t have died – they
must take the full blame for their actions.

Jane King

Responsibility lies with those who denied the
necessary resources. Individual professionals also hold a
responsibility if they did not bring to the attention of managers
the need for adequate resources. If they just did nothing they are
as responsible as the senior managers who refused

Brian Todd

It is my view that elected members are placed
there by the local electorate. To run local services and to ensure
that matters run smoothly. It is tragic that Gurbux Singh, as
senior Haringey employee, feels he had no responsibility for
Victoria’s death. If one spends 10 years putting into place
procedures and systems only a fool would not bother to enquire how
effective those new systems were and how they effected service

The same is true for Mary Richardson. To claim no knowledge of
how bad things were is to claim that she was not up to the job. All
those involved in Victoria’s death have to take responsibility for
their practice not just those at the frontline but middle and
senior managers plus those elected members who chose to deprive the
social services department of the finances to do the job

Paul Marron

The question of who is accountable is the same
as in all similar cases over the last 20 years. It is both managers
and frontline workers. Although one could argue managers could be
more accountable since should by now they should ensure sufficient
supervisory resources are available especially in child protection
cases. Training resources are available to cover all the aspects of
this case including race and culture. I wonder why there is still a
reluctance to admit a need for training.

The other major issue, which again has been part of many
previous inquiries is the inability for agencies to want to
communicate with one another as openly and as transparently as is
necessary in these complex situations, where more than one agency
and more than one professional group is

Jacqui Griffiths

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