Chairman of Baby P inquiry urges Suffolk care workers to deliver “old school social work”

Lord Laming at the University of Suffolk's 'Can you hear me?' conference for health and social care.

Lord Laming at the University of Suffolk's 'Can you hear me?' conference for health and social care. Picture: James Fletcher Photography - Credit: Archant

The chairman of the inquiry into Baby P’s death has urged care and social workers in Suffolk to deliver “old school social work” free of red-tape distractions in a speech delivered to hundreds of industry professionals and students in Ipswich.

Lord Laming at the University of Suffolk's 'Can you hear me?' conference for health and social care.

Lord Laming at the University of Suffolk's 'Can you hear me?' conference for health and social care. Picture: James Fletcher Photography - Credit: Archant

Lord Laming delivered the keynote address at the annual ‘Can you hear me? The voice of the service user’ conference at Trinity Park on Wednesday, which unites those in the police, education, social care and healthcare industries.

Speaking before more than 300 University of Suffolk students and 200 industry experts, Lord Laming spoke about the 2009 inquiry he chaired into the death of Baby P in which he highlighted the failings of different agencies to share information, poor training and support given to “overstretched” frontline workers and red tape “hampering” social workers.

During his impassioned speech, the former social worker urged those in the sector to always put their patients first before anything else.

Olivia Stiff, social work student at the University of Suffolk, said: “He highlighted the need to really think about the service user, empowering and supporting them whilst understanding they are the expert in their situation, as opposed to local authority assessments being at the forefront of your mind. He has done some incredible work. It’s a day I will always remember.”

Fellow student Philippa Ditcham added: “Students can often feel overwhelmed when graduating into a profession which is constantly changing and full of bureaucracy, but Lord Laming heightened the real reason we have chosen these careers, to empower and support individuals at times of crisis.”

The conference was themed around emphasising the importance of the patient, as well as encouraging best practice and strong networks between different agencies supporting a patient – a theme which Lord Laming hailed as vital to the industry.

“The event, that successfully brought together students from across all of the key services, and impressive contributions from users, was both informative and inspiring,” he said.

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“It encouraged me greatly. It was a real credit to the University of Suffolk. I do hope others will follow the lead they have given.”

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