The General Social Care Council is to examine whether social workers involved in the Baby P case in Haringey, north London, are fit to remain on the register.
It also called for a debate on whether there should be a compulsory requirement for social workers to undertake post-qualifying training, saying the case “underlines the need for high-quality support and training”.
The professional regulator said today that it is conducting preliminary enquiries into the actions of practitioners involved in the case of the 17-month-old boy whose mother and step-father have been convicted of causing or allowing his death while he was on the child protection register.
GSCC chair Rosie Varley said: “We are deeply saddened by this case and we are conducting our own preliminary enquiries to establish whether the circumstances have any bearing on the suitability of individual social workers to remain on the register.”
Baby P was placed on the child protection register in Haringey in December 2006 after bruises were found on his face and chest by a GP.
Haringey’s children’s services and other agencies had extensive contact with the family between then and his death in August 2007, during which time he repeatedly presented to professionals with injuries and bruising.
A serious case review, published on Tuesday, identified a number of practice failings by practitioners:-
- Baby P was discharged into the temporary care of a family friend after leaving hospital in December 2006 with insufficient assessment, monitoring and review of the friend’s suitability.
- As a result of professionals’ trust in his mother, Baby P’s injuries were interpreted as largely accidental, rather than the result of abuse.
Varley added: “We think this case underlines the need for high-quality support and training.”
She said the GSCC wanted to strengthen the system of ongoing training, adding: “We think there needs to be a debate about the potential advantage of introducing a compulsory requirement for social workers to undertake post-qualifying training. No social worker should be permitted to take on complex child protection work until they have the relevant specialist training.”
The GSCC also reiterated its call for the code of practice for employers to be placed on a statutory footing. Varley added: “We know from our conduct cases that employers do not always provide adequate supervision and training, and social workers are often dealing with high caseloads.”
The GSCC’s is one of a string of reviews and investigations, sparked by the Baby P case, including:-
- A government-ordered joint area review into safeguarding in Haringey.
- A government-commissioned review by Lord Laming examining progress nationally in child protection since his 2003 report into the death of Victoria Climbié.
- An independent review to be commissioned by Haringey into oversight of child protection by councillors and the actions of staff in the case.
- The serious case review.
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