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Laming recommendations will need 6,300 extra social workers

Social workers could be driven out of the profession as a result of child protection reforms that will treble their workload, the Local Government Association (LGA) has warned.

Researchers at Loughborough University, commissioned by the LGA to look at the implications of implementing Lord Laming’s recommendations, have found that extra work created by the reforms will require another 6,300 social workers across England.

In a document published in March 2009, The Protection of Children in England: a progress report, which was drawn up in the wake of the Baby Peter case, Laming recommends that any referral made by another agency, such as the police or a school, should automatically result in an initial assessment by social workers.

But the LGA has warned that this could lead to a 300% increase in the numbers of assessments – which take an average 10.5 hours to complete – carried out by social workers in some teams.

Chair of the LGA Children and Young People’s Board councillor Shireen Ritchie said: “There is no magic wand that can quickly produce thousand more qualified, expert social workers,” adding that new social workers needed time to develop.

She also warned that there was a danger “hard-working social workers would be pushed to the limits of their endurance” by the extra workload.

The final report by Loughborough University will be published in two weeks.