Star Hobson: Safeguarding partnership regrets failure to act after toddler killed by mother’s partner

Recommendations to be published in January alongside separate probe into ‘inadequate’ Bradford council’s children’s services

Star Hobson
Star Hobson (credit: West Yorkshire Police)

Story updated with sentencing information and sector responses

A local safeguarding review will recommend improvements to social work practice in Bradford after the killing of 16-month-old Star Hobson by her mother’s partner.

Savannah Brockhill, 28, was found guilty of murdering her partner’s daughter, while Star’s mother, Frankie Smith, 20, was found guilty of causing or allowing the girl’s death.

Police described the pair’s “barbaric” actions against Star, who died on 22 September 2020 in an ambulance after suffering a cardiac arrest in Keighley, West Yorkshire.

A forensic post-mortem revealed that Star had suffered significant damage to her internal organs and had a fractured skull and shins.

Bradford Crown Court heard that Star’s injuries showed she had been punched, stamped on, or kicked in the stomach.

Star also suffered cruelty and psychological harm included being filmed as she was being frightened awake or when she fell off her chair or into her food.

Brockhill and Smith pleaded not guilty to the offences against them when they were charged by police in September last year but this week a jury found them both guilty.

Five referrals to Bradford council’s children’s services were made by friends and family from January 2020 to Star’s death, but Smith “fobbed off social workers, persuading them the referrals were malicious”, according to Guardian reports.

Scrutiny committee minutes from August 2020, the month before Star died, record high levels of vacancies and sickness among social workers and reference to referrals with no action. Councillors were told at the time by ex-director of children’s services (DCS) Mark Douglas that the latter issue had recently improved, after “a period in which foundations towards good social work were not put in place” in the wake of a 2018 ‘inadequate’ Ofsted rating.

Bradford council’s interim DCS Marium Haque, in a joint statement with other leaders of the local safeguarding partnership from the police and healthcare services, said: “We all deeply regret that not all the warning signs were seen that could have led to firmer statutory enforcement action.”

A local child safeguarding practice review, being written by an independent author, will be published in January 2022 with recommendations for children’s services and other agencies in Bradford to better protect children in their care.

Brockhill was sentenced to a minimum of 25 years in prison, while Smith will serve an eight-year sentence.

‘Not all the warning signs were seen’

Bradford Partnership leaders – Haque, Bradford district commander chief superintendent Sarah Jones and chief officer of Bradford District and Craven CCG Helen Hirst – said they were sorry for Star’s death and that there was “much that we need to learn from this case”.

They said they had already made improvements to their safeguarding practices but said that they needed “to fully understand why opportunities to better protect Star were missed”.

“We offered support and assistance to Star’s family for what we believed their needs to be, at that given time, but we all deeply regret that not all the warning signs were seen that could have led to firmer statutory enforcement action,” they said.

They said the local review would provide “partners and colleagues in our district and across the country with clear recommendations so we can better protect children in our care”.

And they said they would contribute their learning to the government’s national review into child protection launched following the Arthur Labinjo-Hughes murder.

Susan Hinchcliffe, leader of Bradford council, said: “Social workers in our district support a great many children and young people and carry out work in circumstances that are often very challenging.

“It is essential therefore that lessons are learned from Star’s terrible death so that we can better protect our children.”

DfE: We will not hesitate to remove services from council’s control

The Department for Education (DfE) appointed former Leeds director of children’s services Steve Walker in September as a commissioner to work with Bradford council’s children’s services earlier this year after Ofsted reported a “slow pace” of improvement since its ‘inadequate’ rating three years ago.

Walker, who is due to review whether the council can run its own children’s services next month, spoke to the education secretary Nadhim Zahawi this week to discuss his work with the authority so far.

The DfE said Star’s death was “deeply disturbing” and it would consider Walker’s full report before deciding whether to strip the council of responsibility for its children’s services.

“On seeing that we will not hesitate to remove service control if that is what’s necessary to drive rapid improvements,” it said.

Slow to identify risk

An Ofsted report following a monitoring visit to Bradford in April this year found delays in the council’s completion of assessments, which it said led to the council not identifying risk, need and early intervention quickly enough.

Inspectors said Bradford’s restructuring of its services and significant investment in staffing and service improvement planning had “not led to sufficient positive change for some children” due to the breadth and depth of the inadequacy identified in 2018.

Meanwhile, a report following a visit in December 2020, three months after Star’s death, found the service was “heavily reliant on agency social workers”.

It said: “Improvement remains fragile while there is such workforce instability.”

And at a monitoring visit in June 2019, Ofsted found some social work caseloads at the council exceed 50 children and criticised it for “insufficient progress” causing “delays in children in need and children in need of protection having their needs identified and addressed”.

Inspectors at that time said while there was “some effective social work practice” happening in Bradford council’s children’s services, there was “weaknesses in management grip of social work practice at all levels”.

Sector responds

Organisations across the sector expressed sadness this week at the reports of Star’s death and offered condolences to her family.

Steve Crocker, vice president of the Association of Directors of Children’s Services,  said it was important that social workers in child protection were supported sufficiently.

“When things do go wrong it is crucial that we take onboard any lessons, but it’s equally as important that the system is designed and, crucially, resourced properly, so that we can identify children and families who need our help and support earlier to prevent them from reaching crisis point and effectively safeguard children,” he said.

“Social workers are one part of a multi agency group of professionals tasked with keeping children safe from harm; they carry huge responsibility on behalf of us all and they must be supported by a system that enables them to do their jobs effectively. We hope any system level recommendations that come out of the national review into children’s social care will enable us to better meet the needs of all children and young people.”

The British Association of Social Workers also said it was important social workers were recognised for the good work they do.

“Safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility and social workers continue to support thousands of children every day, 24 hours. Often, the positive work that improves the lives of children and the hard work of families in challenging circumstances goes unrecognised,” it said in a statement.

“Whilst not all child deaths are preventable, we must ensure that we enhance support systems that can help keep children safe and supported including creating the ‘time’, ‘support’, ‘supervision’ and training for social workers to do their job.”

Social Work England, meanwhile, said it would “continue to work with all partners where our involvement may be required”.

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33 Responses to Star Hobson: Safeguarding partnership regrets failure to act after toddler killed by mother’s partner

  1. Kim December 14, 2021 at 6:10 pm #

    This is so heart-breaking and indicative of the high caseloads and the ‘rush in/rush out’ culture to meet timescales. The only way this is ever going to change is when Social Workers actually start to listen to extended family members and take concerns on board. It would seem that in this case, as in Arthur’s case, family members raised concerns which were not addressed. This cannot continue. We must as a body ensure that we actually do a thorough assessment and ensure we do thorough checks. My heart goes out to those who loved little Star and have now lost her and to little Star herself who was once again failed in my humble opinion.

  2. Anne Brocklesby December 14, 2021 at 6:55 pm #

    I am very distressed to hear about Star’s torture and death today, and see the reports on TV.

    Can I just point out the similarity, as it seems to me, the awful reports of Arthur’s death in the press last week.

    Torture and death followed for these children, after a step parent moved in. Those relationships were not long.

    Family had voiced concerns about the children.

    Families did not get feedback from their expressions of concern.

    Can I also make the comment that it is not easy to pick up the phone or write or call, or visit the Social Services Department, and it must have been extreme worry and care about the little child involved for the relative to make that referral. Is this factor taken into account at all?

    Don’t get me wrong, I worked as a social and care worker, and am now retired. I read with dismay the comments made by social workers following Arthur’s death, about the high level of caseloads, the lack of supervision and care of social workers, the hopeless reliance on agency staff, and the usual comment of ‘case closed’.

    I remember way back to the 1970’s when I started in social work. I remember child abuse and deaths from those days, I remember the NSPCC campaign FULL STOP.. I remember Baby P. I read all the public papers – was it a review – on Victoria Climbie, and I made comments.

    Multi-agency working has to improve. Schools, police, social services, all need to step up their work, to help children. I think child protection has to start at a much earlier stage than it does. We need positive anti-poverty campaigns, children in nurseries to meet other little children from an early age, and the essential professionalisation of all staff at all levels, with the salary to encourage the best recruits. We also need really good practical support services for parents who are struggling, as many do and have done, when trying to learn how to be good parents and provide for their families and also cope with their own unmet needs from childhood. Mental health services in this country need to be radically improved.

    Quite frankly I am appalled at the money sloshing around in some sectors in society, take the media for example. Also, consider where the monies went in lucrative contracts during the covid lockdowns and pandemic.

    CHILDREN ARE OUR PRIORITY. IT IS ESSENTIAL FOR SCHOOLS TO REMAIN OPEN AND FOR NURSERIES TO BE ABLE TO PROVIDE FOR YOUNG CHILDREN WHO NEED LOVING CARE AND ATTENTION. Holiday provision needs to be made, and also essential food, clothing and a loving home. Has anyone heard of the Maslow hierarchy?

    CHILD PROTECTION needs a radical improvement.

    • Kim December 14, 2021 at 7:38 pm #

      I totally agree with all of your comments. I voiced these previously in comments on the article about Arthur’s death but was shot down by other social workers which is so sad. Until there is a radical overhaul of services nothing will change. Social Workers are working at least double their contracted hours and threatened with capabilities if they cannot keep up with unmanageable caseloads. I don’t know what the answer is but racing in and racing out is not it. We must take off our blinkers. I have worked with colleagues where they stated because it wasn’t noted in the referral we should just not document other concerns. This, sadly, is dangerous, and it is worrying. Little Star has lost her life. Little Arthur lost his life. Both could and should have been safeguarded. We must start to listen to everyone around the child not just manipulative parents. I’ve worked with many families and most parents want to make changes, we have to remember that this is not all families, but we must also remember not to take at face value things that are said to us and remember that we are NOT medically trained and therefore it is not down to us to accept an explanation for unexplained bruising or injuries but that of a medical professional. My heart goes out to little Star’s family. It is the hardest thing to make a referral and social care needs to wake up to that and take these concerns seriously. 🙁

      • L Jackson December 15, 2021 at 12:03 pm #

        The bruising shown was so evident on the face of the little girl. You are correct when you say we are not medically trained and the carers explanations should not have been accepted until the child had had a medical examination by a hospital consultant who would have determined accidental or non accidental. There were far too many reported concerns. Regardless of how busy social workers are – and I worked for 14yrs as a c.p social worker with high caseload and it was so hard to manage.. the social workers visited this little girl and bruises were seen and concerns were raised from friends/relatives. This was not a case of too busy to visit the family…. they actually got their foot in the door.

        • Ruth Cartwright December 16, 2021 at 3:34 pm #

          I understand that after referral checked out by the Police, Star was taken to hospital for examination. Presumably the medics involved also believed the carers that the injuries were non-accidental. Even if a SW has suspicions, it is difficult to take action if the medics are not saying it was deliberate harm. I guess more will come out in the enquiry about Hospital staff’s role.

      • Anne B December 16, 2021 at 1:59 pm #

        When I started in social work in the 1970’s, there was a radical alternative to BASW – I used to be a member of Case Con, which was a group for social workers who thought social work needed a radical improvement even in those days. At that time, social work had just become ‘generic’ and many longer qualified social workers wanted a return to the old days of specialisms.

        From reading through all the comments below, it would seem there is such great dissatisfaction with the ‘system’ and society.

        Maybe if we take a radical social administration and organisational approach to the overall structure of organisations in child protection, within the social work umbrella, and the wider perspective of child care, then outcomes can be changed.

        There is so much goodwill out there – take the voluntary sector, volunteering as school governors, voluntary reading with children in schools, toy libraries, playgroups, food banks and many support groups. How can all this energy be harnessed to help improve child protection? Raising children is a responsibility for the whole community.

    • David December 14, 2021 at 7:57 pm #

      Well said Kim. The ‘rush in/rush out’ culture, emphasis on meeting tight timescales, high caseloads all impact upon a careful, thorough and reflective investigation. Over the years consistent research has shown a culture whereby SWs are having to work 50+ hours weekly in an attempt to try to keep on top of caseloads and ever-mounting paperwork to feed greedy and cumbersom electronic recording systems. As a result tired and exhausted SWs will not be entirely alert

  3. Jean December 14, 2021 at 9:44 pm #

    The review will tell us whether individuals failed so I make no comment about that. What I do know is that if I was told to hold up to 50 cases I would have used my professional judgement and refused. Ultimately we all live with the consequences of refusing or acquescing with instructions. A culture of over optimism in a household with evidenced domestic violence should not obscure this. That all said what is SWE for? How many inspection reports does it take for it notice service failures and a horror likely to follow from these? I am sick and tired of being told how SWE are improving standards and protecting the public when it does no such thing. I am sickened by the complicity of our leaders in this con. Stop conniving with SWE and have courage to call their paralysis out. Are you really content with such “regulation.” A child being dragged by her reins in the street because she could not walk with a broken leg is heartbreaking. What more do you need to change the cultures we work in? Without compassion, without empathy,
    without feeling pain social work is nothing. Collusion dehumanise us and dehumanises the people we are meant to protect. It’s that complicated to speculate something is not functioning well in a service that opens and closes a case 4 times in a few months. Listening should be the minimum professional basic. Listen to families and listen to us. And stop exploiting agency workers. As Kim says this cannot continue. 50 cases, high staff turn over, weak management, “drift” eventually leads to this doesn’t it?

  4. carol December 14, 2021 at 9:45 pm #

    There is something terribly wrong with child protection in this country and I think it does start with management’s “grip” of good social care practice rather than the amount of caseloads a social worker has. The dynamics of family life and social relations are not being recognized and understood. Why???

  5. Sean December 14, 2021 at 10:04 pm #

    SWE tweet on this tragedy: “We will continue to work with all partners where our involvement may be required.”
    I’ll just leave it to my betters to comment whether this is a regulator taking responsibility for social work or one embracing its own irrelevance.

  6. Andy December 14, 2021 at 10:11 pm #

    Well sadly here we are again. The ink’s barely dry from the previous news reports of poor Arthur’s appaling demise with bizarrely/tragically similar reports of repeated referrals and concerns from wider family members too. Of course there’ll be the usual official hand-wringing accompanied by carefully worded corporate declamations about the lessons which must be learned. As ever we are obliged to await the outcome of yet another forthcoming review and so speculation about the details of this case are of little value and arguably disrespectful to all relevant parties. However the overall circumstances of Star’s dreadful death do appear to highlight a major challenge for the social work investigative process in this context – how do you deal effectively with the articulate, assertive, convincing, well-presented yet ultimately devious and manipulative parent/carer?

  7. Anne B December 14, 2021 at 10:42 pm #

    I would like to know what the safeguarding partnership actually is, and does or does not in fact do.

    • Carl December 15, 2021 at 2:26 pm #

      They “deeply regret” that “warning signs were missed” so it seems blaming others rather than being accountable for their service is what they do.

  8. frustrated December 14, 2021 at 11:47 pm #

    Anne I agree with your comments except for your bit about reliance on agency staff. They will be reliant on agency staff for a reason but this does not mean the agency staff were not as good as permanent staff. When I worked as an agency Social Worker I would have to work hours diligently to make up for the neglect of previous workers both agency and permanent. In one authority I felt that the previous permanent Social Worker had seen and heard no evil because that made his life easier. The problems in children’s services will not be solved by the ‘Othering’ of agency workers.

  9. Helen December 15, 2021 at 9:19 am #

    This utterly evil disgusting pair need a whole life prison sentence, until our so called justice system is updated this type of crime will continue. Perpetrators do not fear prison as they know their crocodile tears and the ‘ soft ‘ judicial system will allow them to escape with a minimal prison term. The fault cannot be laid at the SW system or the police, the whole system is broken along with our morals in society.

    • Daniel December 15, 2021 at 10:14 am #

      While society waits to change itself, it’s up to those who see but ignore abuse, social workers included, to make safeguarding a priority. In my team our previous manager was fond of asserting that “parents aren’t cruel, systems are.” Think how waring it is trying to protect children when your boss tells you you are being “judgemental” when you tell him you suspect parental abuse. Kim was right about Arthur and is right about Star. I heard the Children’s Commissioner refer to us as being the “4th emergency service.” If we are, we need to own the responsibility not just the feel good hyperbole. We are the system, no hiding from that. I also agree about how useless SWE and BASW are in these times.

  10. Mitch December 15, 2021 at 9:46 am #

    There can not still be many social workers of seniority who still believe SWE is fit for purpose. Regulating a profession shouldn’t be just about CPD and paying fees. Lurking in the margins during the challenging times and charging like a ‘white’ Knight for imagined accolades in the good times is just narcissism. Nothing to say about a service which has been rated as inadequate year on year since 2018 is unfathomable. High caseloads, poor management, recruitment chaos, lack of supervision, silo mentalities will no doubt all be identified by the review to which SWE might contribute if their “involvement may be required.” Two children killed and they think “may” is their starting point. This shouldn’t be tolerated, least of all by colleagues in Bradford who have been so public in their support of the belief that SWE is a positive for social work. They don’t deserve the support and we deserve better than inconsequential platitudes. In the end its about the death of a child and the apparent ignoring of warnings from her family. Our leaders should be ashamed to sit back while the Daily Mail define us. A child was killed again. Who owns the reasons why and who sets the standards? And why the silence BASW?

  11. Kendra December 15, 2021 at 11:49 am #

    Any chance that someone from SWE could go on air and say something? Their contribution can’t be anymore of a disaster than the embarrassment from the Children’s Commissioner this morning. If social work leaders have any pride in social workers, it’s time to step in. Why are you so scared of teachers?

  12. Collette December 15, 2021 at 12:45 pm #

    That social workers overall and the ones involved in the two tragedies are being set up for blame is just stating the obvious. That this will happen with total silence from those paid to be our leaders and those who in better times become our self elected leaders, is beyond dispiriting. Silence is collusion in the blame game. Find your voices or just keep quite next time you feel like bullying social workers for not confirming your pathetic certainties about CPD. Individual social workers might be incompetent and dangerous but they work for you. It’s your structures, it’s your ‘standards’, it’s your management, it’s your ‘guidance, it’s your educators. However useless we might be, we work for you. Own us, own this. How many more tragedies will it take for you to take responsibility? You are culpable for the system that prevents is doing social work. A colleague called you functionaries but I think that’s overly generous. You have to have a function to merit that. What are you doing for social workers? What are you doing to help safeguard children?

  13. Chris December 15, 2021 at 12:57 pm #

    Actually BASW have just commented. They put inverted commas around working with. This is leadership, this is shouting loud about their pride in social workers. Isn’t it?

  14. Kitcat December 15, 2021 at 2:24 pm #

    So innocent parents have to pay the price for there failing yet again not right this

  15. Jule December 15, 2021 at 3:42 pm #

    I feel disheartened, more so than last week when the news about Arthur broke.
    I feel let down by SWE, by DfE and I am afraid that the finger pointing towards ‘us’ will lead social work into an ever deeper crisis. I also wonder why these two sad and tragic cases are hyped in the media within a space of a week, and I wonder if this is maybe to deflect of other things that are wrong in this country right now.
    I am a social worker, I trained abroad and started practising in the UK 16 years ago. That may not be long, but I have seen so many changes in terms of policies, procedures, legislation and especially over the last ten years or so things have gotten worst.
    Every review, and papers published afterwards raise the same ‘failures’, our learning, our colleagues learning but nothing has changed.
    I feel angry that DfE told us last year that LAC reviews could be pushed back and there was active encouragement to attend meetings and visits virtually because of the pandemic and they are now pointing the finger at Local Authorities. Where we the additional powers to Local Authorities in the Corona Virus Act 2020?
    I am worried what the current negative reporting about social work will do to the profession and the next generation of social workers, I can hardly recruit as it is.
    I wonder about both cases with women being abusers, active and violent perpetrators and whether social workers were mislead or confused by their gender perception. But, who has time to reflect with caseloads of 50 children.
    I feel sad for the young children that in their very short lives have suffered so much and my heart goes out to their families.

  16. Alfie December 15, 2021 at 7:03 pm #

    At a time when social work and social workers face one of our biggest crisis, SWE regards setting up a consultation about the advantages of holding remote hearings it’s priority. I know PSWs and the like are inhibited by their status from publicly criticising SWE but this is surely the time to break rank. We cannot go on like this, it’s demoralising. SWE is not the leadership that can regain public trust. Help us reclaim our profession.

  17. PSW December 16, 2021 at 9:54 am #

    Alfie, PSWs don’t have the power and authority you think we have. Our status is simply based on the hierarcy of our organisations. Real power is held by Directors. It’s up to all of us to “reclaim” social work, it doesn’t need PSW leadership. Me going public about my own increasing disillusionment with SWE will not make any impact actually. It’s up to all of us to be vocal.

    • George December 16, 2021 at 12:17 pm #

      No power? I point you to the Care Act guidance. You might find the embedding of the PSW role in law illuminating. Social workers use their voice all the time. Some of us have been harassed by SWE for it. Time PSWs stepped outside too. Is the National PSW Network just for handwringing and patting each other on the back? Is remaining resolutely mute in a crisis your role now?

  18. Paul December 16, 2021 at 10:49 am #

    Working in child protection is about focusing on the task the task is protecting children. Ask questions, don’t take no for an answer, undertake a comprehensive investigation. Gain the trust of other professionals and family and community members. Confront carers if you are concerned and give them a very serious choice. That is work with us, or we can and will use the force of the law. If you cannot accept that do not work in child protection.
    I say that as a social worker who qualified in 1988.

  19. Anita Holborn December 16, 2021 at 11:02 am #

    Remember when those of us who were not “on board” with instructions to go online and use mobile phones to monitor? Remember when we were “warned” that home visits could result in us being disciplined? Remember how remote working was transforming and improving our practice? I do and also have the verbal warning for my insubordination. Social workers did not murder these Star and Arthur but our systems and “new ways of working” hamstrung us from doing our job in the best way we know we can. The reviews will tell us more ofcourse. The shame is that they will not tell us how in thrall to untried so unevidenced twitter driven, blog waffled ‘ideas’ social work management and leadership is. Blame vacuity of our leaders not sweated out social workers if blame has to be dished out. In the end though maybe just ask Kim.

  20. Sab December 16, 2021 at 11:48 am #

    Unfortunately the system is broken and in Social Care buck is shifted to workers who are absolutely inundated.
    The management shifts the blame on worker whereas they stay in the office only. They should do visits and hold cases so they would know how much burdened workers are and give them support; this would also take some pressure off the workers.
    It’s very sad another child has been lost.

  21. Hilton Dawson December 17, 2021 at 3:11 pm #

    No-one in social work should say
    ‘Whilst not all child deaths are preventable’
    They should be.

    • Tahin December 17, 2021 at 7:36 pm #

      Ah but our “professional association” BASW says precisely that.

  22. Anne E. December 17, 2021 at 3:29 pm #

    I contributed the following points in response to the death of Arthur and it seems just as pertinent in respect of Star.

    A relative may be malicious but the information they share is usually true.
    They may have fallen out with the parent(s) or disapprove of life style etc but a relatives’s concern about the child is usually genuine and justified.

    It is better to have a detailed (curious) conversation(s) with such a referrer rather than just noting what they allege
    When you tease out the reasons they have called, and ask open questions, often a fuller picture emerges

    It is difficult to complete an assessment of likely harm in one visit
    How often are social workers prevented by management from returning to ask additional questions, check a bedroom etc even when they express continuing unease about the child’s situation. And of course their own pressure of work conspires to encourage early ‘signing off’.

    A specialist medical practitioner should almost always assess bruises/injuries and be fully briefed by the social worker beforehand
    In respect of the last point, I should have added the best social workers I knew would feel able to challenge a medical practitioner who ignored salient facts. Not always easy – remember the nurses in the Victoria Climbie case who had very different views about the child’s needs compared with the paediatrician (who failed to identify abuse) but they did not record what they thought and no-one asked them (until after her death)

    Lastly, I wish that Senior Managers and those with overall responsibility like the Secretary of State, would go out with social workers carrying out these tricky assessments ( not the visits where we know the situation or where we are working positively with a family) to gain some understanding about just how difficult it is. During a long career in child protection, I realise I have been ‘lucky’ that any lapse of judgement or blind spot or poor supervision, did not have an outcome like these two sad cases. I have had many sleepless nights however.

  23. Janet T December 18, 2021 at 2:56 pm #

    I am a retired social worker and feel that relatives/friends who report suspected abuse are not generally listened to. I did some work in Children and Families, but most of my working career was in Adults. Many years ago, a neighbour & I reported to our local SSD concerns we had regarding abuse of 2 young girls – physical abuse by ‘step father’ & neglect by mother (3 year old was found wandering in a busy street early morning and approaching males asking for food) We had discovered that both children were on the risk register & one of the girls should have attended daily a local nursery. Nursery staff informed us that child had not attended regularly & appeared very withdrawn.Both my neighbour & I phoned SSD to give details & were told not to interfere. I explained that I was a social worker, working in the same SSD & was met with abuse from the Duty Social Worker – ‘not to stick my nose in’. I suggested that they rang the nursery to confirm details.

    Whilst this was some years ago, I was sickened at the Duty SW attitude &
    throughout my career, made sure that if someone suspected abuse of any kind, that I followed up all concerns.
    There were times when following a adult safeguarding concern,there were children and young people in the family. In these cases joint visits with children & family social worker were always made and thoroughly investigated.

    As a grandparent – if I suspected that one of my grandchildren were being abused, I would not hesitate to call all agencies including NSPCC and demand action. Would if necessary take the child to live with me!

    Covid has made a keeping abreast with cases difficult, relying on phone calls not face to face meetings. I chose not to remain in Children and Families due to high caseloads and inevitable burn out. The most cases held as an Adult SW was 20 with at least 15 being very active.No social worker, no matter how committed should be expected to shoulder excessive caseloads.


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