Child care cases given to ‘staff who had left’

cases: Problems highlighted allocating child social care cases   Photo: David Hurst
cases: Problems highlighted allocating child social care cases Photo: David Hurst
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Campaigners have raised fears vulnerable children’s lives have been left in limbo after faults were found in the way social work cases were reviewed.

Social services managers at Lancashire County Council have been criticised for allocating cases of vulnerable children to social workers that have left their jobs.

They were also found to have failed to review cases left behind by social workers who had moved on.

The news comes just days after two boys were given permission to claim damages from Lancashire County Council after their human rights were breached during 13 years in the care of the county council.

Rachel Adie, 34, was taken into care as an 18-month-old baby, and later placed into the care Eric Adie from Lostock Hall, who sexually assaulted her throughout her childhood.

Miss Adie, who waived her right to anonymity to speak out about her case following his conviction for sexual assault, claimed the system repeatedly fails people like her.

She said: “I think the job has become more and more about paperwork, filing and stamping, I don’t think it works.

“When it goes wrong, it goes horribly wrong and somebody’s life is ruined.

An internal audit of Lancashire County Council’s directorate for children and young people found weaknesses in its management of children’s social care case referrals.

The report said: “We the time of our follow-up work, we found that cases were still allocated to ceased social workers and managers and that case loads for ceased workers are not being reviewed on a regular basis.”

A spokesman for the Department for Education, said: “It is absolutely vital local authority social services provide effective social care services for children and young people in their area.

“Local authorities should follow the statutory guidance set out in Working Together to Safeguard Children and The Framework for Assessment for Children in Need and their Families.”

In March, Lancashire County Council received Ofsted rated services which protect children, including looked-after children, as good with outstanding features.

A county council spokesman said: “We are grateful to the auditors for their comments. The services involved will implement their recommendations.

“The process of internal audit is an essential part of helping organisation such as the county council to identify where we can improve and to remedy any issues.

“The county council is committed to being transparent and, publishing these documents openly on the authority’s website, is an example of that commitment.”