The Safer Safeguarding Group’s written evidence to the House of Commons Education Committee enquiry into the reform of children’s social work can be found on the Committee’s website.
The group concludes that the Government lacks a clear focus on safety in children’s services and fails to take account of a human factors approach to making children’s social work safer. On a number of important issues – training, recruitment and retention, learning – the Government fails to provide a clear analysis of the problems and any clear vision of how safer and higher quality children’s social work can be brought about.
The Safer Safeguarding Group’s evidence stresses the need for cultural change and the importance of helping children’s social workers talk more freely and openly about the errors they make so that they can learn more readily from then and discover the error traps that lurk within their organisations.
The group commends to the Committee inexpensive and evidence-based approaches to learning that have found favour in other safety critical industries – human factors training (mandatory in civil aviation) and Near Miss Reporting, which has played a significant role in exposing error traps in fields such as civil aviation and anaesthesia.
Because the protection and safeguarding of children is a multi-agency activity, involving the practice of many different types of professionals and agencies, the group believes that a learning culture based on an understanding of human factors and near-miss reporting should be incorporated into multi-agency training and management of cross-agency work, not just social work training.