Last chance to tell Michael Gove how cuts are affecting child protection work

The education secretary wants services to be transformed or outsourced, make your voice count by filling in our survey

In his typically divisive style, education secretary Michael Gove has shared his vision for child protection social work, grandstanding about outsourcing and issuing what must feel like threats to under-resourced and over-stretched child protection teams.

His speech yesterday – as social work professor Harry Ferguson has already pointed out – conveniently lacked any recognition of how his government’s cuts are impacting on the already tough tasks expected of child protection teams around the country.

As you’ll know, we’ve been running a child protection survey, which is already showing the devastating impact budget cuts are having on child protection social work. Now, more than ever, it’s vital that you let Michael Gove and his government know the true impact that cuts are having on your work and the welfare of children and families. So please make your voice heard and fill in this short survey.

Here are just a few examples of how social workers who responded to our survey are struggling to protect children as a result of cuts.

“In my team, support services are being cut and inexperienced workers are being put on high risk cases they can’t cope with.”

“Staffing levels have been reduced to breaking point, there are constant restructures in an attempt to squeeze more savings and support services are failing because of the cuts. HR, IT, finance and adult services are all providing reduced services and causing us more work.”

“The system is strained to the point of breaking. Social workers are working every weekend to stay on top of paperwork.”

“Non-statutory support services for looked-after children and children in need are being reduced, which threatens their future being safeguarded. It is not good enough to merely keep young people away from those who cause them harm, they must be supported to achieve, bearing in mind they often need more support to achieve a positive future.”

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4 Responses to Last chance to tell Michael Gove how cuts are affecting child protection work

  1. gil November 14, 2013 at 1:18 pm #

    who on earth give this comedian a job? come on……. really,,,,, he is like Mr Bean with an important job. Im staggered he takes himself seriously, he knows absolutly naaada.

  2. John Browning November 14, 2013 at 9:13 pm #

    Dear Michael,
    How about trying to applaud the many authorities who have “outstanding” Child Protection teams, as evidenced by Ofsted. Instead of wringing your hands about the instances of bad practice in authorities with failing management and poor performance, why do you not think to look at how the many other authorities manage to achieve outstanding and good services for children who are seen to be at significant risk?

    I would want to review how they have managed that, what systems they have used, and how they support their CP teams to do so well for these children. Then maybe you could try to ensure that training is given to the others to get their attainment levels up to the standards of the best performing children’s social care teams.

    This approach is after all what you advocate for schools which are in need of improvement, and to have the mentoring effect of an outstanding school can be very helpful for those under-performing schools, so why would it not work for less able social care teams?

    I would feel much happier for this to be proposed than to say that we should be going towards private companies to deliver these services, and allow firms to protect our most vulnerable children, with one eye on how much profit they will be making out of such misery and risk.

  3. Nicola Dalby November 20, 2013 at 12:11 pm #

    I’m acting CEO at Safe and Sound Derby, a specialist charity that works with victims of child sexual exploitation (CSE) up to the age of 18. Our services, best practice and support work with victims and those at risk, and their parents and carers is recognised locally and nationally by a wide range of partners, police, education, office of the childrens commission, central government, CEOP.. you name it and they’ve heard of us and praise our work. Just over a week ago the council announced its intention to cut funding to us and re commission CSE services in the city. We don’t know all the details yet and the proposals are out for consultation.
    we’ve always worked closley with colleagues in the social care sector and other sectors to try and make sure children and young people are protected from harm and will continue to do so in the future no matter what the outcome. However, we know colleagues are overstretched, that thresholds have changed and that there are growing gaps in the capacity of safeguarding colleagues to respond effectively to CSE cases and we, along with other ngo’s across the country are being increasingly relied upon to plug those gaps. You have our support, there should be no cuts to safeguarding services whether they’re in the statutory or ngo sector.Could we ask for your support – whether you’re based in Derbyshire or not- please take 5 minutes to respond to the consultation document via this link and comment /question the validity of cutting services and consequently increasing workload of staff as well as decreasing level of support and servcies to children and young people and their families who are victims of CSE or at high risk of becoming victims. thank you . Nicola Dalby.

  4. Helen November 22, 2013 at 12:52 pm #

    Dear Mr Gove,

    I would go even further than John Browning above. I would also say that when so few achieved Outstanding, although many more achieved good, I hope that the government does not try to use this as ‘proof’ that it is possible for all. I would also watch carefully and examine the reasons why they may not remain Outstanding. I am certain you will find that it is based on two main factors – reductions in resources, including funding of front line teams – and the demoralisation of services who are told that they must simply work harder and harder in an already stressful and over stretched environment.

    I would go so far as to say ‘give me adequate resources and I could turn any service around’. I have done. To tell services how bad they are means they will not attract good quality workers, they will have to pay inflated costs for agency staff and their budgets will then reflect this in under resourcing. It is a self fulfilling prophecy.

    To those who ‘advise’ – working ‘differently’ does not mean that we can take increasing hits in our budgets and then do the very best for families. We will ameliorate problems in the short term at best. This is not what we want. We want to equip families for the long term, to allow their children to thrive and contribute. What is happening is perpetuating emotional poverty as well as material. This means that children will continue to be hurt.