Social Services Failing To Implement Climbie Refoms, Baby P Report To Show

Children are being put at risk because social workers are overloaded by impossible targets and red tape, a report commissioned following the death of Baby P is expected to report this week.

Councils will be accused of failing to make the changes demanded after the death of Victoria Climbie and covering up their shortcomings.

Lord Laming called for total overhaul of child protection systems following the eight-year-old’s death in 2000.

Now, in a follow-up report due to be published in Thursday, Lord Laming is expected to reveal that reforms have still not been introduced and information about children at risk of abuse is not being circulated widely enough.

The review was ordered by Children’s Secretary Ed Balls last November following the death of 17-month-old Baby P, who suffered more than 50 injuries from his abusive mother, her boyfriend and their lodger.

At the time Mr Balls said: “Safeguarding children is the responsibility of us all. It is vital that we strive for the best possible practice so that vulnerable children receive the protection they need. The Government is determined to strengthen the system for safeguarding and we look forward to Lord Laming’s report and his recommendations.”

Lord Laming is expected to criticise the culture of targets and performance indicators which has led social workers to be bogged down by bureaucracy and red tape which prevents them acting quickly enough to remove children from abusive homes.

Mr Balls is set to back the findings and promise to implement suggested recommendations. But some social workers do not believe the report will change anything.

Ian Willmore, former deputy leader of Haringey told the News of the World: “The script for this kind of inquiry is now almost traditional. Criticisms are made, council officers go on TV to say everything has changed. Voices will crack with compassion. Nothing essentially changes.”

Lord Laming will also warn that many social service departments have not been properly checked or inspected, allowing poor managers to continue in their jobs.

Dr Ray Jones, professor of social work at Kingston University and former director of social services, said: “This has been a very quick inquiry. I don’t think that hasty, knee- jerk reaction is helpful. What we need is for things to be slowed down and for the government to be reflective.

“What the Government did following the Climbie report was create organisations and local councils which have ended up hurting children. These authorities have become so rule-bound that social workers spend more time filling in forms than looking after children.”