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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