Bosses of children's services, who fail to protect children from abuse, should be struck off, a government report said today.A review of the government's child protection reforms said the law should be changed so senior managers could be hauled before social work regulator, the General Social Care Council, and even be struck off.
All frontline social care staff have to follow a social work code of conduct to keep standards in check. But the directors and council chief executives who employ them do not. Today's recommendation would mean these chiefs had to sign up to the code.So Sharon Shoesmith, the former director of Haringey children's services, would have faced a disciplinary over the handling of the Baby P case, had this system been in place.The report by Lord Laming, who chaired the inquiry into the death of Victoria Climbié, also called for council leaders and senior managers to undergo child protection training.Most children's services directors in England have worked in education and have no background in child protection.
Lord Laming's review found reforms brought in after Victoria Climbié death in 2000 have not been properly implemented. Lord Laming led the Climbié inquiry and reviewed progress after Baby P's death in the same north London borough.His report criticises the government for raising the fees councils must pay when applying to take children into care. Local authorities said the spike in costs deterred them from seeking to take children at risk from potentially abusive families. He also raised concerns about the quality of new social workers and said the children's secretary, Ed Balls, should "immediately address the inadequacy of the training and supply of frontline social workers.”
Children's Secretary Ed Balls told the BBC he accepted all the new recommendations and promised a detailed response to all of Lord Laming's recommendations before the end of next month.Lord Laming's report concluded that child protection issues had not had "the priority they deserved" during the last five years and that social workers were overstretched and under trained. Baby P died despite being seen more than 60 times by professionals. Victoria Climbié, 8, was tortured to death by her aunt in 2002. She two had been seen by a string of professionals before her death.Lord Laming said after the report went out today: "I'm just impatient to make sure that we get ahead and just do it now. It can be done and we could, in these circumstances, have the best child protection services in the world."
By Hayley Jarvis for SOS Children