Solace in Support

David Clark, the Chief Executive of SOLACE (Society of Local Authority Chief Executives and Senior Managers) has made a splash by dipping his toe into the world of blogging by tackling the challenges of social work in the face of a lack of political support.

To put it more plainly, he explains that some of the problems of recruitment to social work and in particular social work in children’s services may have been exacerbated by the thoughtless and attention-grabbing words of the government and her representatives saying

Anybody who witnessed the disgusting spectacle of politicians pillorying the social work profession after the death of Baby P cannot help but be revolted. Pandering to certain sections of the media, politicians of varying political hues were happy to put the boot in to social workers at every level. This preparedness to opine, wholly unencumbered by facts, shows politicians at their worst, and statements like “we must ensure that it never happens again” display politicians at their most stupid.

From my infinitely more lowly position, I’d applaud him for saying so. The government, and Ed Balls in particular, have been overly keen to dismiss any of the real issues that have led to difficulties and lack of confidence in the systems that exist and instead lay the blame for failures in the child protection systems at the door of individual social workers and social work managers – when in fact, some of the policy-driven changes must account for the over-administrative nature of the role.

Of course, while agreeing wholeheartedly with him, it is good to see the support come from a source more likely to garner attention.

4 thoughts on “Solace in Support

  1. Where can I find some info on this “Baby P” case that you are talking about? It sounds to me like there is quite a “blame the social worker” problem going on over there! I’d like to have some frame of reference!

  2. There’s a fair few articles here ( )

    I don’t know how to link urls in the comments bit.. sorry!

    Basically, to cut a very long story short, Peter was subjected to extensive abuse and was eventually killed by his carers (no one person has taken the blame but between his mother, her partner and a lodger in the house at the time the damage was done) and this was whilst he was under the care of social services who had visited regularly.

    Anyway, it turned a lot of public anger and hate towards ‘hopelessly incompetent’ social workers – oh and the government joined in too (see above). Anyway, the Guardian will give some good general background…

  3. Thanks! I figured that was the gist – child dies in care – but wanted to read a little more since you post about it often and it seems to have caused quite a stir over there. I don’t know much about Child Welfare in the UK – but I am trying to learn more! I just started a series of posts about it – you should join in so that we can learn about CW in another country!

  4. I’ve been reading your posts and find them fascinating! I just don’t think I’d be able to contribute in such a thorough way about children services in the UK – I am a relatively new foster carer and have never worked in children services so my knowledge is shaky – and compared to the wonderful thoroughness of your posts, I would pale significantly in comparison.
    I may do a little more research over the weekend but as I’m sure you can imagine – I have lots of ‘child time’ set aside which sometimes impinges on ‘research and writing time’! Especially as our foster child is likely going back home to mum next week.. ..

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