Thursday, 14 April 2011

What is the impact of the cuts?

Judy Cooper’s article in Community Care yesterday should set alarm bells ringing.(
It reports that a survey of 170 social workers revealed that 82% believed child protection thresholds have increased in the last year. Comments by the respondents were worrying, suggesting that in their experiences clear cases of abuse and neglect were not being actioned and that the Common Assessment Framework and the Team Around the Child were being seen as alternatives to Section 47 enquiries and Child Protection Plans.

We do not, of course, know how representative this sample is, but in the absence of information to the contrary it should signal grave concern. Despite assurances from central government that local authority cuts will not fall on child protection, there is no telling how, in times of unparalleled austerity, things will work out on the ground.

Ideally I would look to the regulator, Ofsted, to undertake urgently some thematic inspection work to monitor the impact of the cuts on child protection, but I am not aware of any such work currently in progress or being planned.