Childrens’s staff concerned with electronic records

Only a quarter of children’s services staff believe that their departments are ready to go live with electronic records on 31 December as planned by the government, an exclusive poll by Recruitment Talk’s sister publication Community Care has found.

Eight per cent of staff did not have access to a computer despite 57 per cent believing electronic social care records would be the best place to store serious child protection concerns.

Only two-fifths of respondents believed the reforms to child protection would make children safer, while nearly 90 per cent were against the government’s proposal to scrap the child protection register.

The survey of more than a 1,000 professionals also reveals major dissatisfaction with the existing child protection system. Almost 80 per cent believed children did not receive adequate support unless they were on the child protection register.

And there was opposition to the government’s proposal for health professionals to have more discretion in sharing information than other children’s services staff, with only a quarter agreeing they should.

But more than 70 per cent backed plans to replace area child protection committees with statutory local safeguarding children boards.

Andrew Webb, co-chair of the Association of Directors of Social Services children and families committee, acknowledged that councils had difficulties in developing the electronic records system and said the government should act cautiously in replacing the register.

But he added that the child protection register had served a “very useful purpose” in sharing information on at-risk children but that a separate register was “no longer valid”.

Nushra Mapstone, professional officer at the British Association of Social Workers, said the register should not be scrapped “until other changes are at least bedded down”.

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