In Bournemouth today Annette Brooke MP (Shadow Minister for Children) updated the Lib Dem policy on child protection. The purpose is to renew their position following the tragic case of Baby Peter. The raft of new proposals includes a public awareness campaign to make child protection everybody’s business. Nobody would disagree with that, but more controversially, they want the results of all serious case reviews to be made public. The transparency point is well made, but given the ‘blame culture’ and the way the tabloids so readily, and simplisticly, villified well intentioned public service workers, particularly social workers, does it really help to put all the analysis and learning immediately in the public domain?
Another dimension is that the Lib Dems, like all parties, have now been forced to take a position on ContactPoint, the national children’s data base. The Lib Dems share the Tories view that it should be scrapped. We work closely with children’s services professionals and their view is that ContactPoint is the best idea right now for sharing information – the kind of information that genuinely could prevent child deaths. We are looking at alternatives to reform this expensive IT system and make it more useful to the children’s workforce. Your views are, as ever, very welcome.