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Reports in Daily Mail and Evening News about an adoption case

UNISON urges members and public to keep 'open mind' on 'unfair' adoption reports because confidentiality means those attacked cannot respond.

1 Feb 09: UNISON believes that recent newspaper reports about an adoption case in Edinburgh are unfair and inaccurate and is concerned about the effect on the whole Social Work workforce of an individual staff member and, by implication the whole workforce, being subject to such media vilification.

This and other recent personalised media attacks on Social Work staff risks creating a recruitment and retention crisis in this critical font-line chid care and protection service. Social Work staff in Edinburgh work to achieve the highest possible standards and regularly work far above and beyond the call of duty to deliver that. The least they deserve is well-informed and balanced and fair reporting.

UNISON City of Edinburgh Branch wishes members and the public to be aware of the following:-

  • No individual staff member can make decisions on their own about adoption cases. All decisions are scrutinised by expert panels who make the final recommendation. In the end, only the Court can make a final decision regarding adoption of children and all parties have the opportunity to be heard in such cases.

  • As such, any decisions in the reported case are agency and court decisions and it is inexcusable that any individual staff member should suffer a media witch-hunt.

  • Social Workers do a very complex and stressful job on behalf of the Council and society. UNISON welcomes the statements from the Council on the matter but condemns the ill-infomed criticism by one Conservative councillor who should know better than to make media comments before knowing the facts. UNISON is investigating whethere this may be a breach of the Councillors Code of Conduct.

  • Children's confidentiality is protected by the Courts, the Children's Hearing system and the law. The media should be well aware that this means that those affected cannot reply to defend themselves from the allegations being made. In light of this UNISON would advise its members and the public to keep an open mind as to whether the press reports reflect the true story.




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