Bashing the system

Since The Times disappeared behind the great paywall of Murdoch, the Telegraph seems to have taken over the mantle of family justice system basher-in-chief (or at least that's how it appears to me - like most people, I have no idea what The Times is doing nowadays).

In a nice balanced piece of writing yesterday columnist Christopher Booker tells a story that "highlights the ongoing scandal in our social services", in which for no apparent reason a mother is "robbed of her children and incarcerated alongside psychotics who were drugged to the eyeballs". Hard-hitting stuff, and a quick glance at the comments beneath confirms that this story of the evil state has stirred up the anti-system reaction that is was clearly seeking.

Not content with that, the Telegraph stuck another knife in yesterday with an article by Alasdair Palmer, in which he claims that there "will be more cases like Baby P's until the child protection system is fixed". Clearly, the broken system is both taking children away from parents when it shouldn't, and not taking them away when it should, with there being no cases in the middle when the system actually gets it right.

Thank goodness our top journalists are onto the case...


  1. This is where statistics are important. There are false positives and false negatives. Anecdotal reporting or even serious case reviews does not give an answer as to the overall position.

    The stats do, however, and they demonstrate that the system fails very badly.

  2. Ah, a comment from the system-bashing MP! ;-)

    Seriously, you may have a point, but it must depend upon what statistics you use, and how you define success and failure. For example, the fact that (I believe) the vast majority of care applications result in care orders being made could be taken as evidence of success.

  3. The usual analogy is with a criminal justice system. If 100% of prosecutions ended in convictions, would that be a measure of "success" or of something else.

    Assuming that social workers do not possess some form of Papal infallibility, my money is on something else.


Post a comment

Thank you for taking the time to comment on this post. Constructive comments are always welcome, even if they do not coincide with my views! Please note, however, that comments will be removed or not published if I consider that:
* They are not relevant to the subject of this post; or
* They are (or are possibly) defamatory; or
* They breach court reporting rules; or
* They contain derogatory, abusive or threatening language; or
* They contain 'spam' advertisements (including links to any commercial websites).
Please also note that I am unable to give advice.