DfE faces legal action over ‘misleading’ safeguarding guidance

The Department for Education could face legal action for publishing guidance that might lead local authorities to break laws protecting vulnerable children, a charity has claimed. Children’s rights charity Article 39, claims that Department for Education “statutory guidance myth busting”, produced by its children’s social care innovation programme, features “numerous errors and misrepresentations of the statutory framework” on how social workers should support children in care.

A key concern of the charity is that the DfE guidance suggests that it is acceptable for local authorities to provide one social worker for children and foster carers when a child is in a stable, long-term placement. According to the charity, the statutory guidance indicates that for safeguarding reasons, there should be two.
Article 39 director Carolyne Willow said that the charity had resorted to legal threats because it could not “stand by and leave it to vulnerable children to have to go to court to defend the rights that parliament and successive governments have given them”. Read more.