A documentary filmed from inside Birmingham’s children’s services will shine a light on overstretched social workers “struggling to cope and battling constant changes”.
Channel 4’s Dispatches sent an experienced social worker into the council, which was branded “a national disgrace” by chief inspector for Ofsted Sir Michael Wilshaw in 2013.
“Our undercover social worker found overstretched colleagues struggling to cope and battling against constant changes in their attempts to keep children safe,” a briefing about the documentary said.
“What she found was a troubling picture of chaos, low staff morale and confused decision making on how to handle serious cases where children could be at risk.”
“This investigation by Dispatches provides a timely insight into problems faced around the country by those on the frontline of child protection.”
The programme description referenced the council’s troubled past, including being subject to 27 serious case reviews in the last 10 years. It also mentioned the recent murder trial surrounding 18-month old Keegan Downer, who Birmingham services placed in a special guardianship arrangement with the woman who eventually murdered her. The last three Ofsted inspections in the council have rated it ‘inadequate’.
“Birmingham city council has insisted that sorting out its children’s services is a top priority, and claims that substantial improvements have been made. To try and get a true picture of what is going on, Dispatches sent an experienced social worker into the department.”
Inside Britain’s Children’s Services will air Thursday 26 May at 10pm. Birmingham council is expected to respond to the programme later this week.