‘Kids in need will suffer’
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.”