National Review into the murders of Arthur Labinjo-Hughes and Star Hobson
BASW initial response
BASW’s thoughts are with the families and all those affected by the horrific and tragic murders of Arthur Labinjo-Hughes and Star Hobson, and we fully support the importance of respecting their rights to privacy.
The review clearly shows that Arthur and Star died in horrific circumstances, that opportunities were missed and that they were failed by the system.
BASW welcomes the overarching conclusion that the child protection system in England must be strengthened, both locally and nationally.
A second national recommendation is the proposal to set up a new Child Protection ministerial department.
BASW expects the establishing of such a Child Protection ministerial board to be inclusive and representative of the social work profession and the social care sector more broadly, including professional membership representation.
The report also highlights the complexity of multi-agency safeguarding and protecting children, the impact of the pandemic, service pressures, turnover rates, missed opportunities, leadership and system failures, as well acknowledging that ‘every day, many thousands of children are protected from harm by conscientious, committed and capable social workers, police officers, health, educational and many other professionals.’
Time and time again serious reviews have shown failures in multi-agency working, followed by recommendations for systematic change.
Our members often tell us a key problem is that when funding is scarce and demands/referrals have increased (as it has consistently for years) that the different professions – health, police and social care – can start separating and that teamwork and communication breaks down.
We need to see a cultural change, where professionals can quickly and effectively communicate and trust each other.
The recommendation for Multi-Agency Child Protection Units could be part of the answer but not enough detail is known about it yet, and it will certainly need new funding to establish.
BASW is committed to upholding the highest standards of practice and will be providing a more thorough response to the review shortly.
We will be supporting the social work profession, leaders, and organisations to reflect on the conclusions and recommendations within the review.