Council leaders hit out at child protection targets

By staff

Extra paperwork is making stretched social work teams struggle even more to keep control over their casework, council leaders have warned.

Research by the Local Government Association (LGA) saw the increase in rules and targets introduced by the government in a bid to improve child protection as the biggest single reason given for social work teams exceeding their maximum case-load allocations.

The requirement that every referral from another professional requires a formal process known as an initial assessment has attracted particular criticism.

“It is time to show more trust in our social workers to do the right thing for children,” councillor Shireen Ritchie, chair of the LGA’s children and young people board, said.

“It is time for professionals like the police and health service workers to step up to the mark and show they understand the part they have to play in helping social workers reach the most vulnerable children first.”

The LGA wants to see social workers given more power to process referrals using their own discretion.

There are currently 300 pages of guidance for child protection provided by the government, as it seeks to recover damaged confidence in the system after the death of Baby P.