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Child protection system is not working, say Liberal Democrats

Date:23 SEP 2009

Liberal Democrat Autumn Conference has backed a series of proposals to make children safer and ease the burden on social workers across the UK.

A motion passed by conference yesterday called for the scrapping of the children's database ContactPoint and investing the savings into more administrative and technical support for social workers so they can spend more time on the front line.

The Liberal Democrats Children and Families Spokesperson, Annette Brooke, who tabled the motion, also proposed to allow social workers to complete secondments in other agencies and encouraging other child protection professionals to gain experience working with social workers.

In addition the Liberal Democrats are calling for enforcing the publication of an anonymised version of Serious Case Reviews.

Commenting Ms Brooke said: "Despite numerous reviews, reports and reforms it is clear that the child protection system is not working properly. Some of our most vulnerable children are still being let down.

"Co-operation between different professionals involved in protecting children can often be poor and many social workers are lacking the support they need.

"Social workers should have the opportunity to complete secondments with other people working in child protection, such as the Police and schools. This would ensure better communication and understanding between all child protection professionals.

"The Government is pinning a lot of hope on its massive children's database, but this huge, intrusive project will not encourage professionals to talk to one another. It should be scrapped, with the money saved used to give social workers extra support, allowing them to spend more time with families and less time completing paperwork."