Baby P report condemns HR processes at Haringey Council

The damning independent report into the death of Baby P has highlighted a number of HR issues at Haringey Council.

The council’s head of children’s services, Sharon Shoesmith, was sacked in the wake of the report into the circumstances that allowed Baby P to die from abuse despite being seen by professionals 60 times.

Haringey Council leader George Meehan, and cabinet member for children and young people Liz Santry, both resigned ahead of the 16-page report’s publication this afternoon.

Although it says that council HR files seen during the inspection showed that appropriate employment and identity checks are made, the report adds: “Health and social care services have a process whereby staff can be appointed prior to the receipt of CRB checks.

“While the health process ensures that supervision is given to such staff until the check is complete, the process in social care services is less clear, which is not good practice. Not all elected members have had CRB checks.”

The report also says: “The high turnover of qualified social workers in some social care teams has resulted in heavy reliance on agency staff, who make up 51 of 121 established social worker posts. This results in lack of continuity for children and their families, and of care planning.”

It adds: “Action has been taken to attract staff, including an increase in pay scales and a graduate trainee scheme. Currently there are four unfilled social work posts. Some social workers have heavy caseloads, exacerbated by the need for experienced staff to complete unfinished work for those staff who leave.”

Elsewhere, the report says: “Previous longstanding severe shortages of staff in community nursing services resulted in a reduction of preventative health care available to children and young people in the borough.

“Ten additional health visitor posts have recently been created and recruitment to these posts is under way. Staff express concern that the level of staffing in child and adolescent mental health services is insufficient to meet the demand.”

The report was commissioned by the government and carried out by seven inspectors from Ofsted, the Healthcare Commission and Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary.

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