Former inspector supports Laming’s recommendations and criticises staff

Child care expert Sir William Utting has endorsed the proposals
for cultural change outlined in Lord Laming’s inquiry into
the death of Victoria Climbie but warned against making other
fundamental reforms, writes Sally

The former chief inspector of social services said that Laming
was “right to make recommendations that would fundamentally
change the culture of child protection in this country”.

But he added that it would be “a considerable error of
judgment, however, for fundamental changes to be made in child
protection nationally on the basis of the Victoria Climbie

Speaking in London at a seminar on the future of child
protection, Utting said: “Major reorganisations inevitably
produce both turbulence and unforeseen outcomes, and it is not
unknown for them to fall short of even their primary

The organisations and individuals involved in Victoria’s
case came under attack from Utting for their
“unprecedented” incompetence.

“It is as if these agencies had expunged the entire
history of working with children from their memories – as if
children’s departments and social services departments had
not existed,” he said.

He “fully supported” Laming’s emphasis on
accountability, pointing out that while local authorities carried
the statutory responsibility for child protection services, other
agencies and professions with different constitutions, managements
and functions were  involved in actual service delivery.

“Establishing a clear line of accountability in which all
the agencies participate should establish a corporate culture and
national focus for child protection and a genuine and appropriate
sharing of responsibility,” he said.


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