Saturday, 10 December 2011

Increased demand for services in Yorkshire

The Yorkshire Post reports a substantial increase of 34% since 2009 in the number of children made subject to child protection plans in the region. Yorkshire’s biggest city, Leeds, saw a staggering rise of 157% and rural North Yorkshire also saw a big increase of more than 90%.

Professional associations and charities are quoted by the Yorkshire Post as calling for more resources to deal with these unprecedented increases. It seems clear to me that the bulge in child protection work that began following the Baby Peter case continues unchecked. And it is difficult to see how cash-strapped local authorities can continue to meet demand without substantial extra resources.

Sadly this type of situation is a bit like a pressure cooker without a safety valve. The pressure continues to build and build, seemingly without consequence, but it is only when the explosion actually occurs that people realise how dangerous the system actually is.

I think there is a need for careful research and analysis of how well local authorities are dealing with these types of increases. Are existing staff just having to cope or are more resources being deployed? What are the effects on staff morale and, most importantly, the quality of service?

In a sane and rational world I would expect the regulator, Ofsted, to be doing that. Silly me!