Monday, December 08, 2008

I must be going soft ...

.. I can't find it in me to join in the chorus of abuse directed at that hideous Haringey harridan wot's been sacked because her social workers are clueless cretins. In fact she seems to have been treated somewhat unfairly, and I can "take comfort" from the fact that she'll almost certainly get a quarter of a million from the inevitable industrial tribunal.

Don't get me wrong. As a matter of general principle, I approve of sacking social workers with immediate effect and no compensation. But what's one among so many ? Why her in particular ?

We all know. A baby is dead, the firestorm swirleth, goats must be scaped. What really seems to have nailed her is social services inspectorate Ofsted's backside-covering. You may or may not recall that they gave Haringey social services top marks just before the murder - which is somewhat embarassing for Ofsted. One might be tempted to ask, as does h├╝bsche Haringey hottie Lynne Featherstone MP, what the point of their inspections are.

But thinking on her feet, Ofsted supremo Christine Gilbert had the answer - Haringey social services deceived us.

Tactics used by the council included claims that managers had assessed children promptly when the files revealed that those assessments were in fact incomplete. The same files showed that such assessments of children were routinely and wrongly made with their parent or guardian in the room, when they could have been the ones harming them.

It wasn't until inspectors in this week's review began pulling children's files from the office shelves in the town hall that they realised the extent of the deceit.

One might ask what kind of inspection regime never opens a file and takes the inspectees word as gospel. If the Inland Revenue took that approach, a happy world it would be, and one with a lot less money for social workers and Ofsted inspectors. Methinks Ms Gilbert is either too hopelessly naive for her role, or she's neatly and cleverly diverted the pack onto the wounded wildebeeste yclepte Sharon Shoesmith.


JuliaM said...

"As a matter of general principle, I approve of sacking social workers with immediate effect and no compensation. But what's one among so many ? Why her in particular ?"

Becvause she was stupid enough (or arrogant enough) not to wheel out the usual platitudes on discovery, but to insist that everyting was fine and no-one would resign or be sacked.

TDK said...

JuliaM is right. She walked the plank because she didn't make the token apology.

I'm interested in what's one among so many? Why her in particular?

Are you suggesting that all social workers be eliminated?

In this role (Baby P, child abuse..) it's certainly viable. Social workers work as an arm of the state and since we already have one devoted to solving crime the function could be transferred there.

That leaves the role of assisting "vulnerable" people in the "community". Can that be abolished cold with no alternative?

I'm not taking a position here, but I am interested in what people have to say.

Michael said...

I've witnessed Ofsted inspections and have noted that often poor performing organisations (but with the best bureaucratic mindset)do very well out of them and win more funding due to their good grades. The inspectors themselves are well paid and they a cause massive disruption of resources from delivery to massaging files and data. It is a bureaucratic con-job but a costly one, at the public's expense.

Anonymous said...

A couple of points in passing...

* "Vulnerable". Is it just me, or is this word becoming so inverted as to be meaningless?

* Lay off social workers, would you? They may be part of the greater statist system that has bred so much of the dependency and horror but most have their heart in the right place.

* What are OFSTED doing here? Has education - the positive raising and development of our children really been merged into the cleaning up of social disasters? Is that how the state sees fit to categorise the world?

* Baby P (the tip of an iceberg if ever I saw one), is the result of the heady mixture of the welfare state, state monopolised education, post-Christianity, and sexual liberation, notably the contraceptive/abortive culture. We have to tackle all of these to have a future.

* The only groups of people having significant numbers of children in Britain today are the underclass and Muslims. So accompanying economic and intellectual decline will be violence and schizm. What are our political elites planning on doing to head this off?

paul ilc said...

If social workers had preserved the life of Baby P, and he had continued to grow up in his chaotic underclass world or had grown up in 'care', he would almost certainly have become a mini-job-creation scheme for social workers and other "professionals" as he turned to drugs, sired more children like himself, committed crime and violence, and was possibly killed or was murdered himself.

'Successful' interventions by child protection social workers may do some good in individual cases, but overall they harm the social fabric by allowing dysfunctional families to continue in existence (at huge cost to the rest of us) rather than self-destructing.

TDK said...

* "Vulnerable". Is it just me, or is this word becoming so inverted as to be meaningless?

I used inverted commas to signify that I wasn't merely accepting the term.

I think it a term like "social justice" that deliberately vague in order to avoid any debate.

Anonymous said...

I reckon Ms. Shoesmith had to go because she was, like, The Boss, no?

Responsibility and all that.

I know it's a foreign concept to our political class, but clearly they're not above imposing it on others, when the public outcry reaches a certain level.

They are probably hoping that her departure will take the pressure off them.

And to be honest, her demeanour, behaviour, remuneration, and even appearance, made her a particularly suitable fall-person in this case.

staybryte said...


Bit off topic but I just wanted to apologise for leaving a drunken post yesterday on the Stansted protest thread.

The expletive I chucked in was aimed at the assorted Tarquins and Hermiones who wrecked Phil and Tracy's holiday plans at the airport. Not at the contributors to this esteemed blog.

Dammitall! said...

Look at the record of the despicable Margaret Hodge, who was responsible for the same kind of thing.

Was she punished? No, she was made Minister for Children by Nu-Lab.
Fall-out from this despicable matter is still rumbling on.
You probably all know this, but there's another famous harpy who doesn't like children much:

Wasn't it of Tyra Henry that the coroner said she was at risk from the moment of her conception"? (I don't know whether that might hace constituted a legal opinion as to when human life actually begins).

Doubtless "lessons will be learned"...

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