Where we are and where we will be

Where we are and where we will be
The idea of Edinburgh is a combination of place, soul and symbolic leadership of a nation

Monday, 17 November 2008

It shouldn't have happened but a witch hunt won't help

I have waited all weekend to write about Baby P to see if I could calm down but I haven't. I find myself angry on three levels;
  1. that adult humans could do these unspeakable things to a child who should have been held in their love and protection;
  2. the tragedy could have been avoided if decisions had been taken;
  3. and at the veritable witch-hunt by press an politicians which will do nothing whatsoever to make children any safer.
I have been on the end of the phone getting the call from senior staff in a department for which had political responsibility saying there has been a tragedy and that child protection procedures I had helped put in place had not stopped it.

I have listened to social workers going over every minute detail, all of us wishing they had made a different decision-making.

I led the restructuring of a department so that we might make sure the right decisions would be made and still some fell through the net. It is utterly impossible to create a legislative system that will mean every child, in every circumstance will be safe, or that every social worker will always make the right decision. And lynch mob responses to their mistake s do not lessen the chances of them recurring.

A witch-hunt against hard pressed staff who have to make the most difficult of decisions in often volatile circumstances will not make children safer. It will instead create a climate of fear, defensiveness and isolation for those we ask to make those tough calls. It will mean few folk will want to do the job and it will mean those that do will leave before their experience is honed such that they are more likely to make the right decision. Yes, different decisions should have been taken and yes those involved need to be challenged, but unless we change how we deal with our collective anguish at such tragedies then we will continue to fail to honour the short life of Baby P.

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Surgery Times

1st Wed @ Piershill Library, 30 Piershill Terrace.
2nd Wed @ Craigentinny Community Centre, Loaning Rd.
3rd Wed @ Duddingston Primary School, Duddingston Rd.

All 7:15pm -7:45pm

and the last Sat. Lochend YWCA, 198 Restalrig Road South
12noon -1pm

(no appointment needed, all during school terms)
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