Unison calls for social workers to be paired up for child protection cases

Social workers should work in pairs on child protection cases to prevent a repeat of the Baby Peter and Khyra Ishaq cases, says public sector union Unison.

The union says that in both cases social workers were faced with “manipulative and aggressive adults”.

If two social workers had been allocated, the union says that one could have focused on the adults, while the other concentrated on the child.

Helga Pile, Unison national officer for social care, said: “This double tragedy demands double action. Police officers work in pairs and we believe that there are huge benefits when it comes to child protection visits in having a second pair of eyes and a second opinion in decision-making.”

She also called for all newly qualified social workers to be mentored by experienced colleagues and new guidelines to “curb excessive caseloads”.

Last week, a serious case review into the death of seven-year-old Khyra Ishaq, who was beaten and starved to death by her mother and her mother’s boyfriend in Birmingham, said social workers could have done more to protect her.