Edinburgh workers ‘lack confidence’

    Edinburgh social workers lack confidence in their child
    protection decisions because of unclear guidance, according to a
    council report into progress made since the death of baby Caleb
    Ness in 2001.

    Though the audit finds there has been a general improvement in
    services since the toddler’s death at the hands of his abusive
    father, it reports that social workers need clearer guidance when
    assessing children.

    A third of professionals surveyed said they thought joint
    assessment guidance from their agencies was unclear, and none
    strongly agreed that they felt confident doing child protection

    They also complained of a lack of consultation between
    professionals and agencies when planning and organising

    Child protection guidelines state decisions on whether to put a
    child on the at-risk register should rest with the interagency case
    conference, suggesting a democratic process.

    Such a situation could result in less experienced conference
    panelists over-ruling more experienced colleagues, which, the
    report says would increase the number of children on the register.
    However, an examination of 57 case files showed a high standard of

    Roy Jobson, director of children and families at Edinburgh
    Council, said the audit gave an “honest” account of child
    protection practices.

    A Unison survey of Edinburgh social workers due out soon is
    expected to call for an increase in spending on placements for
    looked-after children.


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