Press Ganged

Praise for the Daily Mail is probably not what you’d be expecting to read in Community Care’s inaugural column on press
coverage of social care.

But the recent judgement by Justice Munby in the Nottingham baby case elicited a sympathetic response from the Daily Mail.

It reported Munby’s call for social workers to have better training and gave equal emphasis to his proposal for NHS staff to be
given child protection guidance. It then reported Munby saying “any judge must sympathise with a no doubt under-resourced local authority struggling to cope with social problems on the scale with which…this particular local authority is faced”. Munby was also quoted as saying that he “did not criticise social workers ‘on the ground’, who were struggling to cope with excessive caseloads…The problem was one of management and training”.

The Daily Mail even mentioned the money and staff Nottingham is now devoting to the mother and her baby in an effort to
improve the situation, along with Munby’s insistence that any improvement depends on the mother herself not the staff. It even refused to make much of Munby’s claim that the case was “hardly unique”.

A change of heart? Maybe. Or it could be the paper was undecided about who to attack: a “feckless” teenage mum or social workers.

Oh, before my praise leads to me being sent to Coventry at Comcare Towers, here’s a critical remark. The government recently
published a report into adoption that rejected any notion of target obsessed social workers snatching babies to boost their bonuses. The Daily Mail, which has campaigned on this issue, ignored the report.

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Nottingham rapped over care leaver and child protection services

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