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Progress on Munro, but child protection system still getting worse

Commenting on Professor Eileen Munro’s progress report into the review of the child protection system, BASW chief executive Hilton Dawson, said:

“BASW has always supported Professor Munro’s important work, and welcomes the incremental progress evident in this update, but the sad reality in child protection services is that the situation is currently getting worse, not better.

“As BASW’s widely publicised survey of 1,100 social workers showed last week, social workers are dealing with unmanageable caseloads, rising amounts of administration and plummeting morale. An alarming 85% of social workers have experienced cuts to services over the past year, 88% believe lives are being put at risk and 54% say their caseloads are now simply unmanageable.

“Regrettably, we are in danger of fiddling while Rome burns.

“It is welcome that pilots on the removal of fixed assessment timescales have been positive, but such gains pale in comparison against deep cuts to support staff and rocketing levels of demand for child protection workers, as care numbers rise inexorably.

“Without giving social workers the resources on the ground to do their jobs, we are simply taking one step forward and two steps back.

“BASW unreservedly welcomes the initial progress and will go on pressing for Professor Munro’s important work to be adopted in full, but policymakers must recognise that this work is in real danger of becoming an irrelevance, unless direct action is taken immediately to help rescue frontline practitioners.

“That’s why, in addition to the long term need for better resourcing, BASW is calling for three measures to be taken now to at least stop the situation deteriorating further, placing children at ever more risk:

  1. Immediate measures to reallocate local authority administrative staff from less critical roles
  2. Place a moratorium on any further cuts to social work allowances or the introduction of any new charges, which are savagely undermining morale
  3. Ensure that Ofsted and CQC prioritise in all inspections the risks of high caseloads and take steps to uncover bullying”.

Read BASW’s survey

Read social workers in their own words