Child protection reforms will be thrown off track by plans to
merge Edinburgh’s children’s social services and
education services, public sector union Unison has warned,
writes Maggie Wood.
Despite protests from Edinburgh social workers, the
council’s cabinet committee agreed plans to replace the
council’s existing education and social work departments with
a new children and families department and new health and social
care department led by two separate directors.
But Unison branch secretary John Stevenson said the move would
mean “a good deal of child protection work” started
before and after the O’ Brien Inquiry into the death of Caleb
Ness would have to be started all over again, resulting in
“new procedures, new working links, new unfamiliar
“When we are meant to have our eye on the ball in terms of
child protection, we are going to spend time dividing up offices,
dividing up computer systems, losing the ability to share
information,” Stevenson warned.
He said the real issue in child protection work was lack of
resources and problems around staff recruitment.
“Reorganisation won’t fix that. In effect, all the
diverted effort will make it worse,” he said.