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Edinburgh City Council is to carry out a radical overhaul of its social work department in the wake of criticism of...
Edinburgh City Council is to carry out a radical overhaul of its social work department in the wake of criticism of its role in a high-profile child death.

The council plans to integrate education, children and family services along the lines of the English children's services model and establish a new department of health and social care responsible for domiciliary and community care, criminal justice and developing links with health authorities.

A dearth of joined-up working was one of the faults identified in the Edinburgh & Lothian's Child Protection Committee's report into the death of Caleb Ness, which found failings 'at almost every level' of the department (LGC, 24 October).

The new education, children and families department will be headed up by Roy Jobson, director of education and acting director of social work at the council.

Members paid visits to three other authorities, including Brighton & Hove City Council, which established a children, families and schools department three years ago.

Chief executive Tom Aitchison said the move reflected a UK-wide trend towards integrated services: 'Clear and consistent messages are coming from government that separate arrangements should be amalgamated into a single approach,' he said.

But chief social work officer Duncan MacAuley warned developing a common culture within the two new departments could be 'very challenging'.

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