In Britain we often talk about August as being the ‘silly season’. It is the time that everyone is on holiday and journalists have to devise innovative stories to fill the column centimetres.
It looks like this year the unusually warn summer has extended the silly season into September – at least as far as child protection is concerned.
There seem to be people popping up all over the media who have the solution to the Daniel Pelka tragedy. I’ve already mentioned a group campaigning for mandatory reporting – before, I might add, we even know how often Daniel’s case was drawn to the attention of Coventry’s Children’s Social Care.
Then there are a lot of ‘experts’ quoted in Community Care this week.
A representative of the College of Social Work tells us that “… closer working between teachers and social workers is needed, such as shadowing days and more observations in schools”. That sounds like a lot of work to organise without any clear or definable benefit. And we don’t yet know how much (or how little) ‘co-operation’ there was between the school and social workers in Daniel’s case.
Then a representative of the teachers’ union NASUWT waxes lyrical about the doomed computer system ContactPoint. He is quoted as saying: “The seeds of good partnership working were there with children’s trusts and the ContactPoint database, which had real potential to be built upon. But this government has smashed it to pieces.”
At this point I begin to wish it was the middle of winter – the sensible season. However little we know about Daniel’s tragic death it takes a particular kind of mind to see it as being linked to the abolition of a piece of ill-conceived IT.
Let’s be sensible and wait for the Serious Case Review report. It might not explain what happened but it will describe the events and provide a chronology.
And let’s stop all those knees jerking in the late summer sunshine.