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Ex-BASW chair, David Niven, urges for lessons to be learned over Croydon failings

David Niven, ex-chair of BASW and current chair of two child safeguarding boards, was invited onto Vanessa Feltz’s radio show for BBC London this morning to discuss the announcement that the government has taken control over Croydon’s failing children’s services.

Commissioner Eleanor Brazil will now work with Croydon council to improve the service, after Ofsted report gave a damning verdict on its children’s services, blaming “widespread and serious” failings for leaving children and young people at risk of harm.

“Although it’s very disappointing that it has reached this critical stage, we need to take this opportunity to show strong leadership to improve Croydon’s children’s services and make sure the children and young people at risk there are protected from harm,” said Niven.

Commenting on the fact inspectors also cited that many social workers working for the south London borough were struggling with unsustainable caseloads, Niven stressed that this situation is all-too common and needs to be urgently addressed by the government.

“We know, just like in all local authorities, that there are very capable and diligent social workers working hard to protect children and young people. But we also know that many are struggling to do this job to the best of their ability because they simply are over-burdened with too many caseloads.”

Niven added: ““Having an unmanageable work-load for a social worker means the same as for any professional in any walk of life, you simply will not be able to do your job properly. We need to invest in our services so social workers can do the job they are hired for and to show the professionalism they are capable of.”

Here is a link to Niven’s radio appearance: