Child protection: cash ‘not the reason for failures’

July 1, 2009

The leader of Dundee City Council today said he agreed with the Scottish Government that a lack of central funding was not responsible for the failures in the citys child protection services (writes David Clegg).

It had appeared Councillor Ken Guild was at odds with his SNP colleagues in Holyrood yesterday when he confirmed the council had set aside an extra Pfund500,000 to help fund improvements.

That was despite the Scottish Government claiming improving childrens services in the city was not about spending more a view echoed by Dundees two SNP MSPs, Shona Robison and Joe FitzPatrick.

But speaking to the Tele today, Mr Guild said he agreed that money was not the solution to the problem and that the Pfund500,000 had only been put aside in the event it was needed.

I would absolutely agree (with the government), he said.

We are looking at ways of improving how the system works. What we have said now is that if we need to spend money rapidly it will be there. But the solution is not to throw money at it we need to ensure the existing service is mobilised so it works properly.

But I know there has been considerable pressure from the opposition politicians to throw money at it. If we do find we need to spend money to improve the service it will be there on standby.

The money has been set aside as part of an improvement plan for child protection in light of this weeks damning report into child protection services in the city.

Inspectors found major deficiencies and said they were not confident children at risk were not being identified or receiving the protection they needed.

The report sparked calls from Labour and Tories for a review of Scotlands child protection services and an increase in funding.

Rory Malone, Dundee branch secretary of the union Unison, also claimed a lack of government funding was behind the poor performance.

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