LETTER : Information about child abusers in the social services

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The Independent Online
From Professor H. Prins

Sir: Two items in today's Independent provide similar uncomfortable messages: your account of the British Psychological Society's efforts to control some of its deviant members, and the call for better regulation of equally deviant childcare workers in the wake of the Islington affair.

Your leader rightly stresses the need for more powerful regulation of childcare workers. Such regulation should apply to all social workers (it is a mistake to assume that the only abuse of children is by residential staff); and that regulation must be backed by powerful sanctions such as those possessed by the General Medical Council. I recall that many of us suggested such a course of action when the Central Council For Education and Training in Social Work (CCETSW) was established some quarter of a century ago.

CCETSW has tried to promote better training for social work and in some respects has succeeded. I qualify my praise because in recant years it seems to me to have allowed a pre-occupation with political correctness to detract from its professional responsibilities.

The time has come for CCETSW to be replaced by a statutory regulatory body with powers to inspect, control and discipline. Such powers, will not, of course prevent all misuse of power, but they would go some way to obviating the fiasco now obtaining in the wake of the Islington affair.

Yours faithfully,

H. Prins

Loughborough University

Loughborough, Leicestershire

1 August