Child care job rules to be tightened

Government is poised to act swiftly on a report criticising councils for failing to identify potential child abusers when they apply for jobs.

The report, to be published today, details the findings of the Warner inquiry, set up after Frank Beck, a social worker, was convicted in 1991 for abusing children at three local authority children's homes in Leicestershire.

The Department of Health, which has already studied the report in detail, is expected to issue new guidelines to councils in response today. Timothy Yeo, Under-Secretary of State at the Health Department, described the contents of the report as 'disturbing', adding: 'We must act immediately.'

It is understood that the report criticises local authorities for failing to check the backgrounds of applicants with police and the Department of Health, and failing to obtain thorough references.