Congratulations to the fifty charities and social work experts who have been campaigning to get a damaging Government document withdrawn from circulation since it was published, mid way through 2018. In the end they managed to do so as explained here by applying for a judicial review of the document which was published by the Department for Education. The document is known as “Children’s Social Care Statutory Guidance Myth Busting” and after it was made public at least one of the charities involved known as Article 39 sought to ask Nadhim Zahawi to correct some of the errors in the document and he simply dismissed their concerns. However his Department have taken the view that it would remove the guidance from circulation, rather than “divert time and public money to litigation”.
Whenever Government bodies intend to create documentation and policies they should do so by consulting with the communities likely to be affected. They should get these documents endorsed by these communities wherever possible and if there are objections raised afterwards they need to take these very seriously, particularly when they involved matters such as safeguarding. Doing so would follow the recommendations of the Macpherson report which was published 20 years ago in February 1999. In Parliament a few weeks ago MPs debated how far the recommendations from the report had gone and tragically they focused exclusively on the issues as though the report was only attempting to correct problems in the Metropolitan Police when in fact the report was very clear that all parts of the public sector needed to become more focused on communities that their policies and actions impact. This document and the way it was handled by Zahawi and his Department is a classic case of how to get things wrong.