Surrey social care staff get ‘health checks’

Checks have been carried out on the workloads of hundreds of staff in Surrey County Council’s child services.

A government task force recommended all councils carry out “health checks” on staff after the Baby Peter incident.

The council worked with the public sector union Unison to look at workload, training, management and supervision for staff.

Surrey County Council is claiming to be the first council to have completed such a review.

‘Major step forward’

Councillor Mary Angell, cabinet member for children and families, said: “We’re the first council in the country to do these health checks with the help of the union and this reflects the importance we attach to taking good care of our social workers.

“They do a great job, often in extremely difficult circumstances.”

Surrey County Unison branch secretary Paul Couchman said: “The last few years have been extremely difficult for social work staff, particularly in children’s services.”

He said the checks on staff were a major step forward.

The council said the review was originally focused on social workers but the views of all staff in children’s services and related areas were sought, with 300 taking part.

Baby Peter, from Haringey in London, died in 2007 at the age of 17 months at the hands of his mother, her boyfriend and their lodger – despite being seen 60 times by the authorities.

The death of Baby Peter and other high-profile abuse cases led the government to order an independent review of child protection and social work in England.