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The Status of Social Workers at Court

March 10, 2010

The Guardian reports that Loughborough University carried out “in depth” research for the local government association and discovered, shock horror, that:-

“The low status afforded to social workers was … perceived to impact upon the court decision-making process. A number of authorities felt courts were refusing applications that children’s social care felt were necessary to protect children.” Social workers, it says, “are not always recognised as experts in the court arena”. As evidence of their low status, it points out: “Experts such as hospital consultants are not expected to wait in court all day to give evidence, but social workers are, meaning they are not able to use the time available more effectively.” The report found that social workers had to wait on average 20 hours in court to get a care order.

If its bad for local authority social workers then just think of the position of PC Plod. He has to wait around a grubby court-house all day long just to give his evidence about the local burglar Bill whom he caught dead to rights. Then, having told the beak that Bill is guilty as hell, some damn smart-arse lawyer jumps up and dares to question Plod’s account, B.Bill has the cheek to lodge a not guilty plea and the Judge actually sits and listens to this nonsense. Result, the whole thing drags on for days and weeks before Bill is finally sent to the holiday camp they call prison. This charade has taken up loads of Plod’s valuable time when he could have been out there patrolling those mean streets and protecting the ungrateful citizens.

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