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Panorama 2nd November 2009, “The Child Protectors”, Coventry Social Services

I have to declare before I get any further into this post that I know Clare Johns, the Co-Producer of lasts nights show about Coventry Social Services. I know her through one of my clients who has been a participant in a documentary provisionally entitled ‘After the Break’, currently being made by Films of Record for the BBC.  Films of Record are a Ten Alps Company, which has Sir Bob Geldof as Non Executive Director and Co-Founder. I will post on ‘After the Break’  anon and this site will be the originating source of a press release from my client about his participation in the documentary.

After having read here what Producer/Director Emma Loach had to say about how this program came about I am more disappointed with the content than I would otherwise have been. The finished article didn’t really fit with what we normally expect from Panorama as a ‘brand’, which is normally more investigative than observational.  To me the show seemed more like a public information broadcast to recruit more social workers, by showing potential employees how easy the job was compared to the really stressful job they have now!! It also came across as an appeal for more money for the poor hard done by social workers in Coventry. I wasn’t convinced in the slightest as to the overworked status of the Referral and Assessment team and their appeal for more resources and pay had as much pull on me as obese prisoners telling the world that they needed bigger portions.

The programme reminded me more of a pre-warned school inspection than an observational documentary. No arrogance or rudeness from social workers, nothing comparative, nothing dramatic. Just a sanitised show-and-tell for the Referral and Assessment Service at Coventry.

I also notice that we didn’t get any sight of any of the local authority lawyers or any court proceedings. Everything seemed so simplistic with that vital process missed out. If it had have been an advertisement for an iPhone at least it would have said “Some sequences shortened”.

Instantly forgettable as an episode and didn’t tell me anything that I didn’t already know.

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