Andrew Castle is Leading Britain's Conversation.
28 July 2017, 11:48
Ten Years On From Baby P, LBC Learns Vulnerable Children Are Still At Risk
A leading social worker has told LBC that 10 years on since the death of Baby P, vulnerable children are still being put at risk.
Peter Connolly, a 17-month-old boy, died in Haringey, north London, back in August 2007 after suffering more than 50 injuries over an eight-month period.
During that time he was repeatedly seen by children’s services who failed to notice the abuse that was taking place.
The tragedy made headlines across the globe and led to three inquiries and a nationwide review of social care.
Dr Ruth Allen from the British Association of Social Workers said seven years of austerity had left social workers are struggling with a 'bombardment' of cases.
Speaking to LBC’s Rachael Venables, she said: “The fact that social workers, and to some extent other professionals as well are stuck behind computers, more than they are able to spend time with families… really needs to be addressed.
“Reducing case loads and reducing computer bureaucracy and paperwork - we’ve said it many times but it remains a big issue in local authorities.
“If you can’t have conversations that reveal the risks and the potential strengths that might be in that family you won’t be able to protect children.”
Baby P was seen 60 times by council and medical professionals in the months before he was killed by his mum's partner.
Several of them, including two social workers, the head of children’s services and a GP lost their jobs.
However, Dr Allen described their sackings as closer to a “witch hunt”, telling LBC it’s had a real impact on social workers being confident enough to do their jobs.
She continued: “I think it's continued to play a part for some social workers felling like they are at risk of blame.
“Sometimes it leads to behaviour such as the front line social worker not really being confident enough in their own judgement, but seeking or having imposed on them, management decisions.”