Saturday, 15 November 2008

Wrong Kind of Social Worker and buck passing

Perhaps what is needed in Harringey is a Social Service made up of enormous, burly, stongly paternal blokes, minimum height 6'6". Instead we have stringy, nervous exhausted women with absurd case loads.

I heard a social worker on the radio yesterday saying that a boy in his care was being left in the family home (where he has witnessed rapes, where there are drugs and violence every day). The SW said in his opinion this was wrong and dangerous. Because the child is a ward of court the SW has to "sign off" the "Care Plan" to present to the judge. However this SW was not prepared to do this as he didn't agree that the boy was safe being left at home. His line manager was not prepared to either, and so it went on up the chain until the Head of Service has to sign off the Care Plan. The Head of Service is happy to do this because what the boy "needs" ie. residential therapeutic care, costs £5k a week and Head of Service doesn't have the budget.

Someone signed off Peter Connolly's care plan. Someone made the wrong decision. Someone should lose their job.

This whole nightmare begs the question: Why do we need Contact Point? "Early Intervention" is one of the supposed aims. The children who are at risk are KNOWN to the "authorities" as Gordon Brown likes to call them, and are not helped with the resources already available.


fuchsia groan said...

I was talking to someone yesterday who deals with people with social problems, not child care necessarily but people who need help coping. She was blaming the box-ticking culture that has removed common sense from the equation. It is truly sickening to watch the likes of Patricia Hewitt saying procedures had been followed, she had passed the paperwork to someone else, and it wasn't her fault. The lady I was talking to is of that dread breed, the Guardian reader, but she was very sensible and she was scathing about the government and Brown in particular.

woman on a raft said...

Since the PM doesn't take responsibility for any of his bad calls why should ministers?

If ministers don't accept responsiblity for their bad calls, why should local authority divisional heads?

If divisional heads don't accept responsibility for their actions, why should social workers carry the can?

If social workers don't think it is fair they are held responsible for their decisions, why should the parent of Baby Peter be held responsible for failing to protect him?

If the other parent - the one who isn't on trial - didn't notice something was wrong, then why should anybody be responsible for anything?

So when the boyfriend and his brother plead 'not guilty' to see if they can get away with it, or when the mother seems to think she'll be out by Christmas, we shouldn't really be surprised. Nobody (apart from one whistle-blowing social worker) has set the slightest example in this horrendous chain. Nobody will until our leaders re-discover the concept of their own personal responsibility.

Scrobs said...

I'm afraid you've touched on the magic words to stop anything being done Lils.

'Sign off'!

Pass the buck, say it wasn't my fault, leave it till Monday, etc etc...

All boxes ticked, now off to the country for a relaxing weekend reading the pension forecasts.

Raedworld seems to have covered it too.

lilith said...

It is very much a tick box culture Fuchsia. They have meetings about meetings. There is no time to visit children because they are too busy following correct procedures to meet Government targets.

I haven't had the nerve to ask a complete stranger if they hate Brown yet.

lilith said...

WOR, Welcome :-)

"Rights not Responsibilities" is the modus operandi.

I simply cannot understand how NO ONE in Haringey social services was responsible in this case. The poor social worker who tried to get someone to take responsibility was vilified and trashed herself. Her experience alone is a wicked tale of bureaucrats covering their backs at the expense of a professional woman.

lilith said...

The more that emerges Scrobs, the more crass and useless the Social Services appear to be. I am so, so angry. Kids get taken away on the most lightweight hearsay, so why wasn't Peter made safe when at least two Doctors and a childminder could see he was in trouble?

The Beast Of Clerkenwell said...

My good friend Lisa has to deal with such things all the time(shes a good social worker)utter horror.
Its tolerated as so many of those that "govern" are pederasts

Philipa said...

I think PH has a point when he says that a middle class married couple would have lost their child long before now. Because they are easy targets. I agree with you, Lils that it's a tick-box culture. Another mum's baby fell off the sofa when she went to answer the phone and the baby broke it's arm. Yes she must have felt terrible and we can all berate her for her mistake. But 16 visits by the SS later... (they only backed off when her husband launched an official complaint) and those who are known to be in danger, as you say, are 'signed off'. It beggars belief.