“It was politicians behaving very badly,” concludes Barry Sheerman MP at the end of tonight’s compelling BBC film Baby P: the Untold Story. Take a bow Ed Balls and David Cameron. But, as Henry Singer’s relentlessly clear-sighted documentary demonstrates, it wasn’t just politicians. Take a bow too, the media, Ofsted, the Metropolitan police and even the saintly Great Ormond Street hospital.But social workers were free of all blame, were they? How surprising!
Arguably the social work profession is increasingly fragile, demoralised and insecure. Recruiting and retaining social workers is difficult, despite some lucrative incentives.Awww, poor things! They are clearly the real victims. And they’ve learned something, at least:
Lawyers for Cumbria County Council tried to suppress all information about the death of Poppi Worthington on the grounds it would be unfair to reveal shortcomings of public agencies, it was revealed yesterday.Not just for the duration of the trial, either – for fifteen years..!
The council’s demands at a family court fact-finding hearing ‘would have had the effect of concealing for the next 15 years the names of any of the family members, including the child that died and any of the agencies concerned and the geographical area in which the events occurred’. The council’s legal submissions aimed at restricting access to any information warned that ‘disclosure of alleged shortcomings by agencies might be unfair to the agencies’.Quite breathtaking chutzpah from those who seem to have forgotten just what the term ‘public service’ actually means.