Children’s services leaders can receive media training in how to handle crises, including child deaths, through a new social enterprise.
Children’s social care consultancy Care Matters Partnership said the half-day course, carried out with media consultancy Game Changer, would help leaders from all sectors engage positively with the media.
Haringey Council was criticised for the way it handled the media in the aftermath of the baby Peter trial, including the press conference it called in which former director of children’s services Sharon Shoesmith used graphs to demonstrate the council’s performance.
Harvey Gallagher, executive director of the partnership, said a crisis required leaders’ human qualities to shine through.
Gallagher, a former communications chief at the British Association for Adoption and Fostering and the National Academy for Parenting Practitioners, said engaging with the media was vital to maintain confidence in services.
He cited a case when an organisation he worked with was seeking foster carers from non-traditional backgrounds, such as same-sex couples.
“The media picked up on it and accused us of ‘political correctness gone mad’ for supposedly encouraging same-sex couples and turning away white married couples,” Gallagher said. “The organisation was very unconfident about saying what it was doing and why it was doing it because it was risk averse, which stalled recruitment.”
- Community Care is running a half-day workshop for social workers on working with the media on 2 December in central London. For more information call 020 7347 3574 or email firstname.lastname@example.org