Haringey caseloads remain ‘stressful’

Despite improvements in recruitment, the morale among front-line
staff in Haringey’s children’s services is “fragile” and caseloads
are still “very demanding and stressful”, according to the latest
inspection report.

More than three years after the death of eight-year-old Victoria
Climbi’, inspectors from the Social Service Inspectorate, the
Commission for Healthcare Improvement and HM Inspectorate of
Constabulary concluded that Haringey’s child protection services
were only serving some people well and that prospects for
improvement were uncertain (news, page 8, October 16).

Inspectors found that several referral and assessment social
workers had 20 or more cases, when the maximum was supposed to be
15. All child protection and looked-after children cases were
allocated, but social workers in the long-term and referral and
assessment teams said they were “working under considerable

The joint inspection report says child protection practice
assessments were “not rigorous enough and often lacked adequate
risk assessment analysis”. There were also “major deficits” in
skills and knowledge.

Haringey’s recruitment and retention strategy was praised for
increasing the number of social workers in permanent positions,
although the “slower” recruitment of front-line managers had
“impacted adversely on quality control”.

Other strengths identified included Sure Start initiatives, family
support services, locating social workers at a nearby hospital, and
the development of a social worker caseload management

Haringey’s executive member for social services and health, Takki
Sulaiman, said: “The recruitment and retention strategy has been a
real success and 88 per cent of front-line social worker posts are
now permanent, well above some of the rates you see across the rest
of London.”

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