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
    work.

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

    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
    practice.

    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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