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Baby P: Ed Balls’ Masters In Blame

by | 6th, May 2009

baby-pGREAT news that “social workers to get £58m boost”, as Children’s Secretary Ed Balls is to “unveil a £58m plan to transform the social work profession after the violent death of Baby Peter”.

So how is Balls going to prevent another Baby P, who was abused despite being on Haringey Council’s “at risk” register.

The Government’s new Social Work Transformation Fund will pay for training and support for social workers, focusing on those new to the profession.

Support from whom? Sky News reports:

The action plan will include:

* 200 new university places from September to encourage the “brightest and best” graduates to sign up for conversion courses to become social workers.

The brightest and best will choose social work over, says, politics because the pay is better, it appeals to their vanity and all the pretty girls choose social work?

* A new recruitment campaign to encourage former social workers to return to the profession.

Why not begin by asking them why they left?

* A series of Newly Qualified Social Workers pilot schemes across the country to help newly qualified professionals gain experience.

Mentored by whom – social wokers already with busy caseloads?

* Funding for a new practice-based Masters degree in social work starting in 2011.

Again, who has the time to mark the tests and grade the social workers? Who even sets the tests? What is a test – no more Baby Ps? P is for Pass. P is for Fail.

* A new Advanced Social Work Professional Status programme to help retain experienced social workers.

Is that Dutch for “more salary”?

So as the money is eaten up by keeping people in education, administration and advertising, what about the workers?

Camila Batmanghelidjh, founder of children’s charity Kids Company, told Sky News the initiatives will improve training and recruitment but do not address the real problems.

She said: “The fact is that social workers cannot cope with the sheer workload of the children and the complex cases that are emerging. Social workers are walking into estates having to negotiate aggressive dogs, weapons and very, very difficult working circumstances. It just feels like the Government has no understanding of what it takes to do social work at street level.”

What d’yer says, Ed Balls?

“Social workers do a really tough job in challenging circumstances, often saving children’s lives and taking difficult decisions about a child’s future and we should support their invaluable work.”

Has he started talking yet?

“Our ambition is for social work to be a high quality profession, with the confidence and support of the public. But to do this we must give social workers the training and support they need to develop and become a confident workforce.”

As he put it:

“Children’s Secretary Ed Balls is urging 30,000 former social workers to return to the profession after the Baby P case led to a staffing crisis with almost one in ten post remaining unfilled.”

And Sharon Shoesmith, once head of children’s services at Haringey Council opined:

She accused Balls directly of making the task of protecting children in Haringey more difficult. The consequences of his “reckless” attack on Haringey, said Shoesmith, would be to make it “more of an uphill struggle” to achieve his aim of raising the standing and status of the social work profession.

The attack that saw Sky News’ tabloid stablemate, the Sun, start a campaign to have social workers sacked and vilified.

Job done.

Baby P: Too Late For Ed Balls But Gordon Brown Can Still Save Him



Posted: 6th, May 2009 | In: Reviews Comment (1) | TrackBack | Permalink