Ed Balls ‘harming social care provision’

The conduct of children’s secretary Ed Balls following the Baby P case has been attacked by the director-general of the representative body for council chief executives.

David Clark, of the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives & Senior Managers, accused Mr Balls of being one of the many politicians “happy to put the boot into social workers at every level”, potentially harming recruitment to the sector.

Writing in his blog, Mr Clark said: “This preparedness to opine, wholly unencumbered by facts, shows politicians at their worst.”

He wrote: “Apparently it is hard to recruit and retain childcare social workers so Mr Balls thinks more taxpayers’ money is the solution. In fact Mr Balls does not have the solution since he is part of the problem.”

Mr Clark insisted that the UK had one of the best child protection services in the world but that social workers’ mistakes should be examined away from a “howling debating chamber” egged on by tabloids.

He continued: “Our parliamentarian leaders need to reflect that, if no one chose the fiendishly difficult job of a childcare social worker, many more children would be harmed.

“Their pandering to base instincts is one of the reasons why we have difficulty in persuading anyone to pursue this career.

“Political leaders need to frame this debate in mature reflection on the issues, or soon we may have no childcare social work profession at all.