Keegan Downer, who turned into murdered whilst within the guardianship of Birmingham social services in 2014
26 might also 2016 • 11:00PM
inside the wake of so many scandals and critical case opinions into the deaths of kids in care in latestyears, it’s miles difficult to believe that any infant safety provider in Britain ought to nevertheless beoperating in an effective nation of chaos. however as remaining night time’s Dispatches unique reportUndercover: internal Britain’s kids’s services (Channel 4) set out to expose, this would appear like the case – and shockingly so – in Birmingham town council’s youngsters’s services department.
starting with the homicide of 18-month-vintage Keegan Downer with the aid of the woman (convicted in advance this month) entrusted together with her guardianship via Birmingham social services in 2014, Antony Barnett’s report raised extreme concerns that cases of infant abuse and forget are not beinghandled properly within the city, probably putting children at chance.
Birmingham metropolis corridor
Birmingham city Council
mystery filming with the aid of an undercover reporter “Vicky” – a social worker with 17 years of childsafety revel in – made for worrying viewing. stressed and demoralised social people complained of caseloads 50 in keeping with cent above the encouraged restriction delaying action for months, and junioremployees of being compelled to make vital decisions approximately toddler welfare.
With mystery filming there’s always the hazard that place of business gripes and moans may want to, inediting, present a now not entirely independent view of a crisis. however whilst there was no directproof right here (as in, say, the current landscape exposing abuse at a younger offenders’ centre in Kent) that youngsters had been actively being positioned at chance, many of the report’s concerns have beenechoed by Edi Carmi, a leading infant-safeguarding professional.
Birmingham’s responses concerning the predominant upgrades they’ve put in location since thedepartment become deemed “a country wide disgrace” through Ofsted three years in the past have been, to say the least, undermined by the seemingly shocking loss of management on the flooruncovered by the filming. Which also confirmed – as handiest eyewitness reports can – how the reorganisation become a reason of chaos in itself. no longer least regarding a new rule forcing socialworkers to communicate by way of cellphone with police colleagues operating across the room –because they didn’t have safety clearance to speak face to face.
no question, a huge city safeguarding branch that handles upwards of fifty,000 reviews of children atrisk a year, will constantly be up against it. but because the instances of little Keegan Downer and othersstated right here reminded us, any instance of a infant being harmed because of the failings of socialservices is one too many.