Post-Baby P review reveals safeguarding gaps in Sheffield

    Sheffield Council has found room for improvement amid good practice in child safeguarding following a review triggered by the baby Peter case.

    The council released a statement on the review yesterday after a report on it was leaked to BBC Radio Sheffield.

    High caseloads for inexperienced staff

    The BBC said the review had found that children’s social workers had high caseloads and that “inexperienced and newly qualified social workers make up two-thirds of the social work establishment in the fieldwork service”.

    The internal review will not be published until early July, when it will be referred to a scrutiny panel, and the council did not comment on the claims about caseloads and levels of experience in its statement.

    But it said it planned to recruit more frontline staff and ensure “all newly qualified staff work very closely with experienced staff to make sure all children are safeguarded”.

    ‘Good work but more to do’

    Cabinet member for children’s services and lifelong learning Andrew Sangar said: “The review found that whilst there is a lot of good work being done by our social services staff, more needs to be done. But we are determined to deliver the improvements that are needed as a matter of urgency.”

    The probe included an audit of 272 child protection plans, a number of children in need cases and an examination of all referrals to children’s social care last October which did not receive an assessment. It was also informed by discussions with frontline staff.

    Of the 272 cases, two needed further action, though “at no point were the children involved in these cases unsafe”, the council said.

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