18th April 2013
Dear Secretary of State
Interim Report on the Protection of Children at Risk
I am currently reviewing the operational procedures and practices of the family justice system, social care providers, the police and other service providers in respect of the protection of children at risk. I make the following brief observations and recommendations as a response to my early conclusion that public confidence in these key services has already been significantly undermined.
In the cases that I have reviewed so far, I have witnessed a tick box culture of mismanagement and deceit that ignores the duty of care that should be inherent in any position of authority that can impact the wellbeing of a child. Furthermore, the service failures are now systemic, meaning that only a thorough, end to end review and realignment of services will have any likelihood of remedying the situation.
In the short term, I make three general recommendations that should accompany government’s commitment to a wide scale service review:
- Psychometric testing for those involved in the family justice system and social care
Amongst some social workers and members of the judiciary, I have seen indications of a psychopathic predilection to tick boxes as a means of both hitting their numbers and mitigating risk to themselves, whilst neglecting completely the individuals for whom they are supposed to have due care.
- An end to contract social workers
In common with other areas of the public sector, there is a culture or mindset that develops in social services departments where there is a reliance on short-term, privately contracted staff to deliver services. That culture means that, as staff migrate from one local authority contract to the next, often recommending or reappointing each other, there is an absolute requirement to toe the line in order to ensure one’s employment in the future. This is within a context where social workers know that they are unlikely to be held to account within the timescales of their involvement with an individual local authority or case. There is significant evidence that this culture leads to an acceptance of records falsification, deceit and malpractice being business as usual. There should be a commitment to abolish contract working for social workers and those employed within the family justice system.
- Ignoring the wider duty of care should become a criminal offence
An overarching duty of care should be placed on those involved in the delivery of public services. It is unacceptable to allow public servants to hide behind ticking the boxes of an approved process whilst knowingly ignoring their wider duty of care in the delivery of public services, particularly where vulnerable adults and children are at risk. We are already at a point where there is systemic service failure, malpractice and corruption on such a scale that it threatens the very fabric of our society. Employees not only have a duty to whistle blow but they must be prepared to hold other service providing agencies to account. It should be a criminal offence to initiate a process where it knowingly causes harm to an individual.
My review so far has been carried out on a voluntary basis following detailed engagements with the courts, the Director of Public Prosecutions, the Ministry of Justice, the Attorney General, children’s services and adult services departments of multiple local authorities, multiple constabularies, regional and local victim support organisations, and parents and campaigners. Many of the allegations of deceit, malpractice and corruption have been corroborated with documentary evidence, including video and audio recordings, as well as sworn written statements.
I am happy to assist you in moving this agenda forward as a matter of utmost urgency.
David Gale | Interim Chief Executive | Kids for Cash UK | http://www.KidsForCashUK.org
Kids for Cash UK – protecting vulnerable children by exposing paedophiles and investigating criminal corruption in the family justice and care systems