Climbie tragedy prompts joint working by childrens agencies

30 Jan 03
Child protection agencies have joined forces to try to stop vulnerable children slipping through the net as Lord Laming's damning report on the Victoria Climbié case was published.

31 January 2003

Social services departments are working with the NHS, police, education officials and children's charities on 30 pilot projects to improve joint working between the professionals who care for abused children.

The local partnerships aim to develop service agreements between the agencies, so that each is clear about its role and responsibilities. Some of the projects will develop computerised records that will store information that can be accessed by staff from several organisations.

Local authorities developing these systems include Newcastle upon Tyne and Gateshead, which have been given £750,000 and £250,000 respectively.

The money will be used to introduce an electronic `early warning' system, which will link the agencies' computer systems and be used by teachers, social workers and others to flag up concerns they may have about the welfare of a child.

NHS Confederation chief executive Gill Morgan, whose organisation is involved in the pilot schemes, said the work would tackle the current flaws in the system. `These measures will ensure that good practice is spread throughout our services and that failure to protect children will not be tolerated,' she said.

The pilot projects have anticipated many of the recommendations in the Laming report, published on January 28, which slated all the agencies involved in the Climbié case. Laming called for a national child protection agency to be established. He also said each council should set up a child protection committee and a management board with all agencies represented.

Health Secretary Alan Milburn later announced that local children's trusts would be set up to bring together health and social services staff and integrate services. `This will ensure local services for children are run through a single model,' he said.


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