Letters to Community Care 14 October 2010

Readers' views on Bill Kilgallon and the Catholic Church, social work practices (GP-style) and Panorama on Coventry

Catholic church fails to act on abuse

There was one question you failed to ask Bill Kilgallon, chair of the National Catholic Safeguarding Commission (“No system will stop child abuse entirely”, 23 September).

It was: why had 14 (64%) of the 22 relevantly convicted priests who had served all or part of prison sentences of 12 months or more, since November 2001, not been removed from the clergy by September 2010?

And why at least nine of them are still listed in the Catholic Directory 2010 as members of the clergy? Lord Nolan’s report stated that priests in that position should be removed.

Kilgallon claims that the Catholic Church has “made good progress” with safeguarding issues. However, the indisputable fact is that almost a decade after the bishops committed themselves to fully implement the recommendations of the Nolan Committee they have yet to remove the majority of priests convicted of abusing children.

Philip Gilligan , senior lecturer in social work, University of Bradford

Practices are back door privatisation

Independent social work practices are fraught with dangers (news, 23 September). If truly independent, they could later be bought out – the back door to privatisation.

Social work co-operatives are more acceptable but may have difficulties in negotiating with government and large organisations. But even this should only proceed with the consent of users.

After 48 years associated with social work, I believe that services run directly by local authorities are still the best and most democratic option.

Bob Holman, Glasgow

Well done to Panorama and those who took part

I’d like to congratulate young people and social workers in Coventry on being brave enough to open their doors to Panorama. It wasn’t a perfect portrayal of social work, but it was a real one. This can’t have been an easy decision to take, but it’s one that more local authorities need to make if we are to de-mystify the world of children’s social work. As Community Care highlighted last year, we also need journalists to be willing to communicate a more balanced view of social work. When both sides come together to better inform the world about social work, it can only be good for young people.

Harvey Gallagher, Director, gallagher-1

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