The NSPCC has called for more robust laws to deal with professionals who deliberately fail to protect children in the wake of the Rotherham child abuse scandal.
John Cameron, head of the child protection charity’s helpline, said: “When people who have authority to act deliberately fail to act, then we need to think more about the consequences of those, whether or not there should be criminal action should be taken against those individuals. We cannot tolerate any longer either a management culture or a practice culture that results in a failure to protect children at risk.”
Cameron was speaking in reaction to the revelations in the Rotherham child sexual exploitation inquiry, which found that some of those in charge of child protection in the town were disbelieving, suppressing or ignoring evidence of widespread abuse of children.
Speaking about what the disciplinary response should be, Cameron stated: “There are people around now, whether they be in Rotherham or elsewhere, if they are responsible for poor practice then they shouldn’t be around practicing child protection or managing child protection services.”
Cameron also told Community Care that when evidence of serious poor practice is discovered, those responsible have to stop practicing, “they lose their job it’s as simple as that”.
“You’ve got to have good practitioners, good managers in organisations that can drive quality practice and protect children at risk of harm whether you’re in children’s services or whether you’re in the police or whether you’re in any agency related to child protection,” he said. “If people fail in their responsibility to deliver good practice and safe practice then they have to be accountable.”
Cameron’s comments follow news that the HCPC is making inquiries about whether fitness to practice hearings need to take place with social workers who worked in Rotherham during the time covered by the inquiry.