SSCB accused of watering down serious case review

Swansea safeguarding children board has been accused of removing criticisms of social workers made during a serious case review from the published executive summary. The...

Swansea Safeguarding Children Board (SSCB) has been accused of removing criticisms of social workers made during a serious case review from the published executive summary.

The serious case review focused on 16-year-old Kyle Bates, who died in January 2008 from a combination of drug abuse and pneumonia.

The Western Mail has claimed that information contained in draft versions of the executive summary was taken out before final publication.

The Western Mail claims that the draft version of the summary included 15 occasions when police, health, education and voluntary agency staff referred information to social services concerning the young person which social services failed to follow up; and that staff failed to apply elementary standards of professional practice. The final published version did not include this.

According to the Western Mail, the board also removed information that said there was no evidence that the failures identified in relation to Bates were due to social services staff being overwhelmed with work or other pressures.

However, Chris Maggs, chair of SSCB, told Community Care when the summary was initially published alongside two other similar SCR’s, that social workers were “struggling” under heavy workloads.

A spokesman for the SSCB said: “There has been no attempt to water-down either the detail or the tone of the findings. The key findings and recommendations are the same.

“It is only natural that during the drafting process on such a complex issue, all agencies involved in the review had the opportunity to give their feedback. As a result of their feedback, the draft was updated to make it clearer and more concise for the public.”

The board emphasised that Maggs made no suggested amendments to the draft report and therefore “did not influence the content or tone of the report in any way”.

Meanwhile, Pembrokeshire council has been criticised for the way it handled concerns of a father whose son was left alone with a convicted child abuser, reports have said.

The Public Services Ombudsman for Wales said the council’s initiation of child protection procedures was too slow when the father said his son was at risk of harm and suffered from neglect in the care of his mother.

A referral from the NSPCC saying the child was being left alone with a family member convicted of child abuse was also not properly investigated, according to reports.

Related articles:

Swansea to recruit social workers to cope with heavy caseloads

Government publishes model for serious case review executive summaries

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