Josh MacAlister, the head of the new care review looking into children’s social care in the UK, has announced that he will not help families and children who have been hurt or negligently treated by professionals inside the sector.
In his engagement plan, MacAlister said the Independent Review of Children’s Social Care (IRCSC) would look to the future rather than provide any historical context, and that it would not “remedy the individual poor experiences individuals may have faced.”
How an inquiry can offer anything of value without looking into allegations of gross misconduct and negligence is beyond us, but that is the official line MacAlister has chosen to take.
If that wasn’t embarrassing enough, the engagement plan — rather condescendingly — adds, “To summarise simply, if willing, we want you to use your experiences to help us build a better system for future generations and tell us about what we can fix now for those of you that already have children’s social care experience. We will support you to contribute to the review by providing specialist and professional support [provided by the NSPCC and Child Line], or you might want to access support by speaking to someone you already trust.”
Despite offering no incentive for families to get involved at this point, the plan then goes on to list the ways in which people can help the inquiry, by sharing what they think should be done to improve children’s social care. These include, workshops, local discussions, focus groups and online surveys.
Our priority suggestion would be to ensure that the sector is held accountable for every negligent act and injury.
And we will be calling this review Josh MacAlister’s review from now on, to reinforce the understanding that this is not a faceless, people-less review, but one which is run by real humans, who should be held accountable when doing a job, particularly one as important as reviewing an entire system.
Language has never been more important – calling something a review, or an inquiry, makes it too easy for people to hide behind an inanimate object without a conscience. This is Josh’s review.