Criticised Birmingham City Council sacks six social workers

Six social workers at a city council criticised over the death from starvation of a seven-year-old girl have been sacked, it emerged today.

The staff were dismissed over the past year for not doing their jobs properly at Birmingham City Council, which is taking part in a serious case review into the death of Khyra Ishaq.

She died in May 2008 from starvation, and her mother and stepfather were both jailed last week for her manslaughter.

Colin Tucker, director of children's social care at the council, said the sacked staff showed "no sign whatsoever" of meeting expected standards.

In an interview with the BBC, he said: "We are not appointing some staff, as well as that we have dismissed six staff in the last year.

"There is a clear indication we are serious about our standards.

"They did not adhere to standards and expectations that we laid down.

"They showed no sign whatsoever that they were keen to do so, so we dismissed them."

The dismissals are not thought to be directly linked to Khyra's death. But they follow a number of other child deaths over recent years.

Khyra died when her body succumbed to an infection after months of starvation at her home in Handsworth, Birmingham.

She was removed from school in December 2007 and social workers made several attempts to visit her home.

Khyra's mother, Angela Gordon, was jailed last week for 15 years over her death, while her former partner Junaid Abuhamza was jailed indefinitely with a minimum term of seven-and-a-half years.

During the trial, judge Mrs Justice King said "in all probability" Khyra would not have died had there been "an adequate initial assessment and proper adherence by the educational welfare services to its guidance".

Mr Tucker was brought in last year after Ofsted inspectors branded aspects of Birmingham City Council's children's department as "inadequate".

He said there are about 120 vacant posts which are filled with agency staff.

He added that he wanted to cut the number of agency staff being used to between 40 and 50.



Mr Tucker said the six social workers were "totally separate" from the Khyra Ishaq case and had simply not met the department's standards.



He told Radio 4's Today programme: "They were frontline workers, they weren't senior managerial staff.



"Since I've been there, we've introduced a whole new set of standards - that includes managers going through an intensive programme of assessment.



"We're remodelling in the autumn. That remodelling will have fewer managers in place, less duplication, more responsibility."



Asked about the death of Khyra, he said: "In the profession, in the city, we are so upset about that it is untrue.



"Staff don't come into social work to harm children or to miss signs of when they're being abused or mistreated.



"Believe me, their motivation is to safeguard children. This has cast, and rightly so, a real shadow over this department for two years. But we can't turn the clock back."



Mr Tucker pledged to give the press access to frontline social services in Birmingham once the SCR is published.



He said social work has been "on its knees" for 10 years and is not a popular profession for young people.



"I didn't want my children to become social workers and I feel really bad about saying that," he said.



Social work is a "hostile" job and the media should be more fair and balanced in its oversight.



Mr Tucker said Sharon Shoesmith, the former children services chief who was sacked over the death of Baby P in Haringey, had been "relentlessly vilified" which was "not acceptable".



He added: "I think we do have to encourage communities to trust us more and that's very difficult in a climate where I feel with my staff often that we're damned if we intervene and we're damned if we don't."



A spokeswoman for Birmingham City Council stressed that the dismissals were not directly related to Khyra Ishaq's death but added that the case remained of "critical importance" to the authority.



A serious case review into Khyra's death is still being conducted by the Birmingham Safeguarding Children Board. A summary of its findings is expected to be published soon.

News
The current recommendation from Britain's Chief Medical Officer, is that people refrain from drinking on at least two days a week
food + drinkTheory is that hangovers are caused by methanol poisoning
Life and Style
techConcept would see planes coated in layer of micro-sensors and able to sense wear and tear
News
Patrick Stewart in the classiest ice bucket to date
people
Sport
Premier League Live Saturday 23 August
sportAll the action from today's Premier League matches
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Life and Style
techCould new invention save millions in healthcare bills?
Sport
David Moyes gets soaked
sport Moyes becomes latest manager to take part in the ALS challenge
Voices
A meteor streaks across the sky during the Perseid Meteor Shower at a wind farm near Bogdanci, south of Skopje, Macedonia, in the early hours of 13 August
voicesHagel and Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise, says Robert Fisk
Life and Style
Horst P Horst mid-fashion shoot in New York, 1949
fashionFar-reaching retrospective to celebrate Horst P Horst's six decades of creativity
News
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
i100
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

JavaScript Developer (C++ / C# / HTML, Java Angular.js) London

£50000 - £60000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A world leading business intellig...

Application Support Analyst-(UNIX, Linux, Financial Services)

£40000 - £60000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Application Support Analyst-(UNIX...

Application Support Analyst - SQL, UNIX, Linux

£30000 - £50000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Application Support Analyst - SQL...

Application Support - FIX protocol, UNIX, SQL, Windows, OMS

£40000 - £60000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Application Support - FIX protoco...

Day In a Page

All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Robert Fisk: All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Chuck Hagel and Martin Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise
Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

So claims an EU report which points to the Italian Mob’s alleged grip on everything from public works to property
Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Once the poor relation, the awards show now has the top stars and boasts the best drama
What happens to African migrants once they land in Italy during the summer?

What happens to migrants once they land in Italy?

Memphis Barker follows their trail through southern Europe
French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

The ugly causeway is being dismantled, an elegant connection erected in its place. So everyone’s happy, right?
Frank Mugisha: Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked

Frank Mugisha: 'Coming out was a gradual process '

Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked
Radio 1 to hire 'YouTube-famous' vloggers to broadcast online

Radio 1’s new top ten

The ‘vloggers’ signed up to find twentysomething audience
David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

A blistering attack on US influence on British television has lifted the savvy head of Channel 4 out of the shadows
Florence Knight's perfect picnic: Make the most of summer's last Bank Holiday weekend

Florence Knight's perfect picnic

Polpetto's head chef shares her favourite recipes from Iced Earl Grey tea to baked peaches, mascarpone & brown sugar meringues...
Horst P Horst: The fashion photography genius who inspired Madonna comes to the V&A

Horst P Horst comes to the V&A

The London's museum has delved into its archives to stage a far-reaching retrospective celebrating the photographer's six decades of creativity
Mark Hix recipes: Try our chef's summery soups for a real seasonal refresher

Mark Hix's summery soups

Soup isn’t just about comforting broths and steaming hot bowls...
Tim Sherwood column: 'It started as a three-horse race but turned into the Grand National'

Tim Sherwood column

I would have taken the Crystal Palace job if I’d been offered it soon after my interview... but the whole process dragged on so I had to pull out
Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard admits he is still below the level of Ronaldo and Messi but, after a breakthrough season, is ready to thrill Chelsea’s fans
Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

The Everton and US goalkeeper was such a star at the World Cup that the President phoned to congratulate him... not that he knows what the fuss is all about
Match of the Day at 50: Show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition

Tom Peck on Match of the Day at 50

The show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition