Fears grow that Haringey social services are still failing children

The social services department at the centre of the Victoria
Climbie case is still not serving most children well and has
uncertain prospects for the future, a report next week is expected
to reveal.

A report by the Social Services Inspectorate into Haringey
Council’s children’s services, to be published next week, is
believed to show that, more than three years after Victoria died,
little improvement has been made.

However, some improvements in children’s services have been made in
Brent, which also dealt with Victoria’s case.

The news follows confirmation that almost half of social services
departments are still failing children. A joint report, published
this week by social services, health and police inspectorates,
shows 45 per cent are still not serving most children well, and
criticises health organisations and the police for failing to
prioritise child protection.

It also criticises the lack of clarity about the responsibilities
of primary care trusts and NHS boards, and highlights the need to
develop the management of individual cases, arrangements for child
protection, joint working between agencies, and staff management
and training.

Acting chief inspector of the Social Services Inspectorate Averil
Nottage said further work was required if the lessons from
Victoria’s case were to be learned.

Meanwhile, a report by publishing company Headstar says that 85 per
cent of social services departments are struggling to put in place
computer systems to share information and may not be able to do so
for another five years, casting doubts on proposals within the
children’s green paper to develop a multi-agency database where
professionals can flag up concerns.

Headstar’s research also shows that differences between health and
social services records result in disagreement on the client’s
gender in 1 per cent of cases. In addition, it reports that many
councils cannot afford the connection costs to the NHS information
network NHSnet.

– Key findings of joint report at website www.chi.nhs.uk 

Electronic Safety Nets is available from www.headstar.com/esn

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