Social workers are spending “a lot of time” on serious case reviews rather than protecting children, an academic has claimed.
Ray Jones is Professor of Social Work at London’s Kingston University. Appearing on the Today programme the day after Amanda Hutton was convicted of starving her son to death, he said social workers were under considerable time constraints and often had “to cut corners to get the day job done”.
Serious case reviews must be carried out whenever a child is seriously injured or dies due to abuse or neglect, in order to establish any lessons to be learned. Approximately 200 are carried out each year. According to the Telegraph, Professor Jones told listeners:
“The process of doing the serious case review is very time consuming and it’s a big distraction for managers from what’s happening now. If you were going to go through them all, you’d actually spend a lot of time reading serious case reviews rather than trying to protect children.”
Social workers already know the fundamentals of child protection, he insisted, saying there is “not much learning left to be done”.
“We know what makes good child protection practice. But it’s very difficult to drill down into that because we have a system under tremendous pressure. People are having to cut corners to get the day job done and that’s not going to make children safer.”
The UK has a much lower rate of fatal child neglect than other European countries, he added.