Two Scottish cities to overhaul social work departments

Edinburgh and Aberdeenshire councils are planning an overhaul of
their social work departments following major child abuse
inquiries, writes Maggie Wood.

In Edinburgh, a report on proposed changes was due to be
considered by the council’s executive this week, following
the report into the inquiry of the death of 11-week-old Caleb Ness,
who was shaken to death by his father. The report found that
Caleb’s death had been “avoidable”, and social
work director Les McEwan later resigned.

The four main options for change are: maintaining the status
quo, creating a joint responsibility for children’s services
between education and social work; creating a new department of
education and children’s services while retaining a social
work department; and establishing a new department of community

Meanwhile, Aberdeenshire’s housing and social work
committee accepted proposals last week for a radical overhaul of
child protection services following the death of 13-month-old Carla
Nicole Bone, who was killed by her mother’s partner last

An independent inquiry into the girl’s death found that the
murder could not have been prevented by the agencies involved with
her care, but urged improvements in a number of areas including the
sharing of information.

A detailed action plan to address the shortcomings identified by
the inquiry will now be implemented, including a review of
assessment procedures and protocols used by the various agencies
involved in child protection. New working arrangements for
children’s services during evenings and weekends will also be

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