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SWU Statement on Arthur Labinjo-Hughes

John McGowan, General Secretary of the Social Workers Union offers condolences to the family of Arthur Labinjo-Hughes

“The case of Arthur Labinjo-Hughes is terrible, horrendous and sickening, but fortunately extremely rare case. In the UK we’ve got among the best safeguarding measuring and assessment processes in the world. Social workers work 24/7 protecting and safeguarding thousands of children every year. 

There has been an ongoing systematic failure to address the pressures on Social Workers and no major review will make any significant difference. Historical reviews such as Lord Laming and Munro reviews have only brought about more paperwork, bureaucracy and skilled Social Workers leaving the profession.  

Yes, look at what happened in this tragic individual case but don’t judge the entire profession from any potential review findings. What is urgently required is more funding and addressing the issues that we have constantly raised. There have been historically a lack of funding and cuts in Social Care / Social Work and this has been a real concern.   

Most Social Workers just don’t have enough time to spend on individual assessments due to work demand and changing workload allocations. We have been calling for better support for frontline social workers for years - including better working conditions campaigns and our six-point action plan to rebuild the profession after lockdown’’. 

We will have more to say once we have examined and reflected on this case in due course.