Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)
Child Protection Is Not Working
IN HIS child protection review, Lord Laming was looking at whether his own recommendations for reform had been implemented, but there is a need to address wider issues too.
The national agency he proposes is no replacement for the lack of an effective local challenge. In the run-up to the Baby P case there was no shortage of whistleblowers urging Haringey social services to act but they were frozen out.
Laming is right that Safeguarding Children Boards should have an independent chair and it is great to have two members of the public on them. But this won't resolve the problem of social workers who want to raise concerns feeling brow-beaten. Minutes should be required of all board meetings recording actions and any disagreements.
Haringey has suffered from a culture of secrecy and ineffective local politicians.
There was alarming casualness around child protection, with people failing to complete reports or turn up to meetings. The departure of the council leader and head of children's services should have prompted radical change, but the signs aren't good, with the Lib Dem opposition's proposal for a children's services overwatch committee dismissed out of hand.
Neither Ed Balls nor Lord Laming want a public inquiry into Baby P's death. Yet there are so many loose ends -- issues around whistleblowers and gagging, the neglect of paediatric services, the inspection regime that awarded Haringey three stars months after Baby's P death and so on. …