Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Up and up and up we go ...

The Department for Education’s Characteristics of Children in Need: 2016 to 2017 England statistics have just been published.

It has been yet another year of unrelenting growth in the work of children’s services departments throughout the country.

The number of Section 47 enquiries (conducted when there is a concern a child may be at risk of significant harm) has increased yet again, from 172,290 in 2016 to 185,450 in 2017, an increase of 7.6%.

There was also an increase in the number of initial child protection conferences which took place in the year, from 73,050 in 2016 to 76,930 in 2017, an increase of 5.3%.

And the number of children who were the subject of a child protection plan at 31st March has increased, from 50,310 in 2016 to 51,080 in 2017, an increase of 1.5%.

These worrying figures are part of the marked upward trend in child protection work in England since 2010. We hear a lot from ministers and civil servants about things like their half-baked scheme for the accreditation of social workers.

But we don’t seem to hear a great deal from them about these sustained and unremitting increases in workload which are the single biggest issue facing child protection work in England today. 

Unless some substantial action is taken, the volumes of work will become unmanageable; it is as simple as that.