Union calls public debate on Caleb Ness inquiry

The Edinburgh branch of trade union Unison is planning a public
debate on the O’Brien Inquiry report into the death of Caleb Ness,
claiming that it contains contradictions and reaches “dubious
conclusions”, writes Maggie Wood.

Edinburgh Council is currently considering changes to social
work and child protection services following the report into the
inquiry 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 trade union’s concerns centre on what they claim are
inaccuracies in the report, and a lack of understanding of child
protection guidelines and laws.

“Many people are beginning to raise concerns about this inquiry
and the danger of it being used to remodel child protection
services,” said branch secretary John Stevenson.

But a spokesperson for the council denied the restructuring of
the social work department was a “knee-jerk” reaction to the Caleb
Ness report, insisting it was an integral part of the 2007 review
of council services.

Unison is also concerned about the effect the “flawed” inquiry
will have on staff attitudes towards future inquiries, and is
calling for a Scotland-wide “set process” for inquiries of this
kind to be considered for the future.

A public debate on the matter is scheduled for late

Caleb Ness’ father was convicted of culpable homicide for
killing the boy and given an 11-year sentence.

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