‘Kids in need will suf­fer’

Lennox Herald - - NEWS - Jenny Foulds

The for­mer man­ager of a so­cial work depart­ment pre­vi­ously branded the move to close the Alexan­dria of­fice as“ut­ter non­sense”.

James O’Neill, who was team leader at the chil­dren and fam­i­lies sec­tion for five years un­til 2015, be­lieves staff will strug­gle to get to chil­dren in need in time once the ser­vice moves to Cly­de­bank.

He spoke to the Len­nox Her­ald in March ear­lier this year, warn­ing how it could let those caus­ing harm to kids off the hook be­cause trained staff wouldn’t be able to get to at risk young­sters quickly enough.

James, who pre­vi­ously stayed in theVale, said:“There’s a struc­ture to in­ter­view a child un­der child pro­tec­tion pro­ce­dures.

“There are too many char­ac­ters who have got away with mo­lest­ing chil­dren be­cause the child wasn’t in­ter­viewed cor­rectly.

“Within any school within Alexan­dria and Dum­bar­ton, when I was there, we would re­spond within a max­i­mum of 15 min­utes so no­body was talk­ing to the child that shouldn’t have been.

“That was the long­est it took us to get out. It has to be an im­me­di­ate re­sponse.

“They have got to get a duty so­cial worker out who then has to make an as­sess­ment that has to be dealt with by a man­ager.

“If they are com­ing from Cly­de­bank it’s go­ing to take more than an hour by the time the de­ci­sion’s made to get­ting some­one down to deal with that.”

Re­spond­ing to him, the coun­cil re­as­sured that“there will be no im­pact to vul­ner­a­ble fam­i­lies in any part ofWest Dun­bar­ton­shire” as fam­i­lies will be able to be vis­ited at home or at other lo­cal premises.

He also be­lieves the move goes against a national strat­egy stress­ing the im­por­tance of so­cial work ser­vices re­main­ing in com­mu­ni­ties.

James added:“It’s ut­ter non­sense.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.