Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Services for Children report now published

The Services for Children report is now published and can be seen, in full, here. The table at page 20 summarises the overall position ... and a similar table for other, inspected Local Authorities can be found within their reports which can all be accessed here.

No question there are serious issues flagged up for further improvement within the Edinburgh report, but there is also the clear recognition that significant progress has been made from the very, very difficult circumstances of 2003.

Our Group has put a Press Release out, given the report is no longer embargoed (is now up on the HMIE site 'just' before midnight). Text as follows:


PRESS RELEASE

EDINBURGH LABOUR SAYS GOOD PROGRESS BUT STILL MORE TO DO ON CHILD PROTECTION

The Labour Group of the City of Edinburgh Council welcomes the report of the Joint Inspection of Children’s Services published today, September 27th. Whilst there is no doubt that there is much still to do, the report indicated that the Council and its partners have travelled a long way in the right direction in improving services and protection of the most vulnerable children in Scotland"s Capital City since the O’Brien report of 2003 and then the Blackie report of 2005.

The Labour Group is particularly pleased that recognition has been given for the creation of the Children and Families Department as a vehicle for better integration of services, the significant improvements in information sharing, the effective early intervention for unborn children and young children and the effective leadership provided by the Council staff and elected members and its partner agencies.

The Labour Group would also highlight the huge turn around achieved in social work recruitment and retention from over 30% vacancy rates to rates lower than the national average and the effective, and award winning, fostering campaigns which saw enquiries about becoming a foster carer rise from 1 to several hundred in only 12 months.

Labour Leader Ewan Aitken said. “The inspection has identified huge improvements since the O’Brien report. The significant improvements in information sharing and joint planning, 75% increase in child protection referrals and the increases in accommodated children are a sign of a greater confidence in the system and a more effective response to concerns about the safety of children.

I and my Group recognise however, that there is still a long way to go so that there is the maximum possible protection for the children of Scotland’s Capital. We increased significantly the expenditure in the areas covered by the report and we remain committed to providing all the support we can to making the very necessary improvements rightly identified by the report as still being required”.

ENDS

8 comments:

John Wallace said...

Your post seems to be at incredible odds with the newspaper headline here councillor.

Andrew said...

John

... accepted; but do have a look at the 'whole' report, which I've also put a link to in the post.

I'm not, for one second, denying there are serious issues here that need further improvement ...

Andrew

John Wallace said...

We seem to agree on something! "there are serious issues here than need further improvement.... I don't of course mean these serious issues.

I've read the report, all 23 pages. I have children, it is my duty to.

It strikes me as though there are huge staff quality problems (I've personally seen the same in CLD) for which heads at the top should roll. Probably quite a few.

Anyone with a CQSW who cares about their work and their clients must have read the labour group's press release and laughed out loud and incessantly for a long time.

There seems to be an institutional lack of the quality work ethic which is necessary in this type of work and of course there are huge swathes of managerial positions who are doing..... god knows what!

"Overall leadership and direction was weak."

"Communication between
managers had also improved, but many lacked critical management information on key child
protection processes to inform planning and the strategic deployment of resources."

"There was a lack of knowledge, understanding and ownership among senior managers in
some services, including health and police, about the development and implementation of the
current ICSP (2005-2008)."

"Inspectors were not confident that all children who had come to the attention of services
needing help to keep them safe from abuse and neglect had been properly assessed and
protected."


You headed up Children and Families and your friend Ewan who 'signed' the press release before you. I would just like to say, when I went to school, if I went home with a report card with comments akin to what I have quoted above, from the report - I would have had the sh1t beaten out of me - and with good cause.

The Labour group were wrong to put out such a press release - just plain wrong. I am glad to see that even the Evening News gave it a pretty wide berth. That should tell the group something.

John Wallace said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Andrew said...

John

Thanks for your further comments ... whilst I'm willing to accept your first one as your honest opinion, I do think your second is a bit over the top.

Sorry John, but I'm deleting it.

Andrew

John Wallace said...

I understand. Can't exactly remember what I wrote (note to self, keep posts) but I do remember the death row prisoner quote. I was very, very angry and still am at the Labour Group press release (and other things that night).

I am however pleased that I had the foresigt to stop donations to the labour party in the last financial year.

I apologise if I have offended you personally.

Andrew said...

John

No apology required - and no personal offence taken whatsoever - and I absolutely acknowledge your anger over the issue.

Don't particularly want to drag out this exchange - I'm not happy at the report either, as I possibly haven't made clear enough - but do contrast what we put out (as contained within the post) with the much later released Child Proteciton Committee/Administraiton press release:

http://www.edinburgh.gov.uk/internet/internet_homepage/Council_news/Child%20Protection%20Report,%20Edinburgh%20-%2027%20September%202007

... I'm really not sure there is that much difference in emphasis or content?

Not a defence of either position, but merely a possible point worth noting.

Andrew

Anonymous said...

Is that john wallace for real???? and he claims that he has children to look after, god help them, poor souls