'No evidence' Barnsley Council 'is over interventionist' on child protection issue
An independent review into the way that Barnsley Council handles child protection cases has concluded, after a Sunday Times report alleged that the authority was “unnecessarily interventionist”.
The article alleged that the council “conducted more than the national average of child protection investigations into alleged physical abuse on babies during 2019/20”, according to a council report.
The report to cabinet states that the article: “concluded the Local Authority were unnecessarily interventionist in their approach.
“In addition, the article implied medical misdiagnosis and insensitive communication between social work staff and the family.”
Following the publication of the article, the Barnsley local safeguarding children partnership commissioned an early independent review to investigate the allegations.
The review was led by Pete Dwyer CBE a former director of children’s services at both City of York Council and North Yorkshire County Council, and the commissioner for children’s services at Wakefield MBC.
The review investigated how the council decides to initiate S47 investigations during 2019/20, the quality of the information obtained as part of the investigative process, and that if removing children from their parents was “always justified”.
The review concluded that there was “no evidence” that Barnsley Council “is a local authority that is over interventionist.”
“There appears a genuine desire to work with families,” it added.
Councillor Trevor Cave, cabinet spokesperson for children’s services at Barnsley Council, said: “As a local safeguarding children partnership, we are pleased with the outcomes from the independent review.
“It has reassured us that we correctly follow regulations while supporting families. We are always open and welcome opportunities to learn and improve.
“As corporate parents, we will always act in the best interest of children and families in the borough and safeguard children against harm.”