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BASW statement on tragic death of Ayeeshia-Jayne Smith

BASW would like to express its deepest sympathy to the family and friends of Ayeeshia-Jayne Smith and all of those who had direct contact with her in providing support and care.

The subsequent Serious Case Review (SCR) that has been published today clearly highlights the complexity of safeguarding work that social workers undertake every day and the importance of always remaining child focused.

It must be remembered though, that Serious Case Review's, as stated in statutory guidance, are primarily about learning and improvement, not blame.

While no child protection system can guarantee such deaths will never reoccur, BASW knows the key ingredients for safer, better practice.

These include: a child focused ethical practice, strong leadership and management, investment in resources, recruitment and retention of staff, as well as ensuring social workers have manageable caseloads and are enabled direct work with children and young people.

BASW promotes these values and are working with employers and political leaders to address the far from ideal work situations of many child protection social workers, and to promote good practice. 

The review further highlights the importance of reflective supervision, training and development, particularly in relation to the legal implications of supervision orders.

BASW fully supports the need for training and continuous professional training for social workers in these important professional areas of knowledge and practice.