Jamie Hailstone 25 May 2016

Birmingham’s children’s services to face more revelations

Birmingham City Council’s under-fire children’s services department is to face fresh revelations in a documentary to be broadcast tomorrow night (26 May).

An edition of the Channel 4 series Dispatches will show what happened when an experienced social worker – called Vicky - went undercover in its children’s services department and comes just days after Birmingham City Council announced it will now be run by a voluntary trust.

According to the programme makers, Vicky found overstretched colleagues struggling to cope with workloads, low staff morale and cases being incorrectly categorised.

The programme will raise concerns about serious cases where children could be at risk are not being handled properly.

And the undercover social worker also discovers a situation where social workers had to phone police in the same room to discuss series cases, because they haven’t got the required security clearance.

‘We recognise the historic and well-publicised failings of Birmingham’s children’s services and we are committed to improving the quality of social work practice,’ said Birmingham City Council in a statement to the programme makers.

‘We still have a long way to go, but we consider that services are significantly better organised and more focused.

‘Part of our improvement plan involved establishing more assessment teams and those teams are much more settled and stable now. Social worker morale has increased in the last year, leading to a decrease in staff turnover.’

Undercover: Inside Britain’s Children’s Services will be broadcast at 10pm on 26 May on Channel 4.

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