Move away from blame

Linden Road Hebden Bridge

Calderdale Green Party has been following the recent revelations about our local children's service.

The recent Ofsted report makes for worrying reading, in places. In particular, some social care field workers were not keeping proper cotemporaneous records and the electronic recording system was not "fit for purpose".

These are unacceptable failings and we need assurances that they no longer apply.

As an NHS speech and language therapist (not in Calderdale), I have frequent contact with vulnerable children and I understand how difficult it is to protect them. It's easy to apportion blame when things go wrong, and sometimes this will be deserved.

However, these problems occur too often, and too widely, for them to be attributed simply to human failings. Last week we had to read the harrowing details of how a little girl starved to death in Birmingham, despite the efforts of her teachers and others.

Unfortunately, media criticism exacerbates the problem by making recruitment and retention of good staff in this sector even harder.

There have been attempts to make political capital out of this report, but the Green Party doesn't operate like that. We think that using the welfare of vulnerable children to score political points is in poor taste.

I have three positive suggestions to make:

1. As a society, we must accept that an efficient care service requires significant funding. A properly financed service would help to improve the status of the staff. Apparently we need to pay bankers huge sums to retain "talent" – why does the same not apply to social workers?

2. Frontline care work does not suit everyone. Staff experiencing difficulties should be first supported and retrained, then moved if there is no prompt improvement.

3. We must move away from a blame culture, accept that everyone makes mistakes, but put safeguards in place to ensure that they don't lead to catastrophes.

Kate Sweeny

Green Party Parliamentary Candidate, Calder Valley