Fears over barriers to plan’s success

The Convention of Scottish Local Authorities has warned that
professional barriers must not get in the way of protecting
children, after new measures in the government’s national child
protection programme were announced by first minister Jack
McConnell last week.

Under the three-year plan, a new national framework for standards
for child protection will provide guidelines for all agencies,
including health, social services, education, police and justice.

But Cosla’s education spokesperson, councillor Rev Ewan Aitkin,
said it was vital that barriers between the professionals involved
in child protection did not get in the way, adding that a structure
needed to be in place where decisions for the benefit of the child
were made “speedily and just the once”.

Other measures announced by McConnell include the publication of
the Children’s Charter, the development of child protection
committees, and a tough new inspection system to test how well an
integrated child protection system is working.

However, Unison warned that shortages in child protection workers
would undermine new systems and procedures. Vacancies in child
protection posts are as high as 50 per cent in some Scottish

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