Latest Public Sector News


‘NHS in Birmingham is simply not pulling its weight in protecting children’

The NHS in Birmingham must share the blame for the city’s consistent failures to protect children, the council’s children’s commissioner has claimed.

Former health minister Lord Norman Warner was appointed commissioner in line with the recommendation of a 2013 review by economist Julian Le Grand and Alan Wood, director of children’s services at Hackney LBC, which followed a series of critical Osted reports since 2008. His remit is to help turn around Birmingham City Council’s troubled children’s services department, but he claims the NHS has not helped.

He said: “It takes two to tango, and the NHS has not been a good tango partner.”

Lord Warner has written to NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens to ask for his assistance.

In his letter he says: “As far as I can see the NHS in Birmingham is simply not pulling its weight in protecting children.”

The letter highlights an alarmingly low number of children at risk referrals from NHS staff and failure to engage with their colleagues in social care.

“These failings were not simply within the city council. The NHS has a fair measure of culpability.”

He also described the Birmingham Safeguarding Children Board as ‘dysfunctional’ during an appearance before the council’s vulnerable children scrutiny committee.

He called for an overhaul of the Board, designed to challenge child protection staff across the city, which he labelled ‘ineffective’.

Lord Warner did note, however, that the council “continues to make steady progress with improving its children’s services” but he warned that “there is much still to do”.

He suggested the costs of safeguarding and looking after more children over the next three years would hit £140m between 2015-16 and 2017-18.

“The financial challenges facing Birmingham are formidable,” he said. “Without some guarantee of sufficient resources and a credible social work recruitment and retention strategy the three-year improvement plan will not be delivered.”

He added that the council’s financial situation “will make it virtually impossible for them to fund the extra £140m” unless there are “further major reductions in other services, some of which may well affect children and other vulnerable people”.

(Image: c. Cristian Bortes)

Tell us what you think – have your say below or email


There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment



public sector executive tv

more videos >

last word

Prevention: Investing for the future

Prevention: Investing for the future

Rob Whiteman, CEO at the Chartered Institute of Public Finance (CIPFA), discusses the benefits of long-term preventative investment. Rising demand, reducing resource – this has been the r more > more last word articles >

public sector focus

View all News


Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

21/06/2019Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

Taking time to say thank you is one of the hidden pillars of a society. Bei... more >
How community-led initiatives can help save the housing shortage

19/06/2019How community-led initiatives can help save the housing shortage

Tom Chance, director at the National Community Land Trust Network, argues t... more >


Artificial intelligence: the devil is in the data

17/12/2018Artificial intelligence: the devil is in the data

It’s no secret that the public sector and its service providers need ... more >

the raven's daily blog

Utilising data to best deliver meaningful public services

14/11/2019Utilising data to best deliver meaningful public services

Public Sector Executive’s Matt Roberts explains how living in a modern, interconnected world, as we do, means public sector organisations cannot afford to ignore the rol... more >
read more blog posts from 'the raven' >

editor's comment

25/10/2017Take a moment to celebrate

Devolution, restructuring and widespread service reform: from a journalist’s perspective, it’s never been a more exciting time to report on the public sector. That’s why I could not be more thrilled to be taking over the reins at PSE at this key juncture. There could not be a feature that more perfectly encapsulates this feeling of imminent change than the article James Palmer, mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, has penned for us on p28. In it, he highlights... read more >