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£58m investment in social workers in wake of Baby P case

PUBLISHED: 17:59 06 May 2009 | UPDATED: 16:10 07 September 2010

Charlotte Newton An extra £58million is to be ploughed into the recruitment and retention of social workers following the death of Baby P, Children s Secretary Ed Balls announced today. The Government hopes that the extra cash will encourage 500 former s

Charlotte Newton

An extra £58million is to be ploughed into the recruitment and retention of social workers following the death of Baby P, Children's Secretary Ed Balls announced today.

The Government hopes that the extra cash will encourage 500 former social workers back into the profession from the end of this month.

Under the plans, two members of the public will be invited to sit on every local child protection board to make the system more accountable.

Each board will be required to publish annual progress reports to make the system more transparent.

The changes are being introduced in response to Lord Laming's damning report, published in March, into child protection services across the UK.

Ed Balls asked Lord Laming to review safeguarding practices across the UK following the death of Baby P - who can now be referred to as Peter. The 17-month old child died with more than 50 injuries including eight fractured ribs, a suspected broken back and his fingernails and fingers tips missing, despite being on Haringey Council's "at risk register".

On Friday (April 1) one of the men convicted of Peter's death was found guilty of raping a two-year-old girl. Like Peter, she too was on Haringey's "at risk" register.

The new funding brings the total invested in the workforce to £109 million over the next two years.

Chief executive of Camden Council Moira Gibb, who is a member of the social work task force, said: "The reform of social work is a long term process, but we believe this is a helpful first step to inform that journey.

"We are committed to identifying improvements that will benefit those in the profession, and ultimately the people they serve, including vulnerable children and their families.

"It is time to move social work to a new footing. The social work task force now intends to do all it can to show the way forward."

Mr Balls said: "Our ambition is for social work to be a high quality profession, with the confidence and support of the public, but to do this we must give social workers the training and support they need to develop and become a confident workforce.

"I want every social worker to be proud of the contribution they make and for every child to get the protection they deserve."

Lord Laming's report - which made 58 recommendations - concluded that too many child protection agencies failed to adopt reforms he recommended following the death of Victoria Climbie in 2000. The eight-year-old girl was murdered by her great-aunt and the aunt's boyfriend.

Baby Peter's death caused a national outcry when it emerged that he was tortured to death despite being seen 60 times by social workers, doctors and police.


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