Broke my toe on Thursday morning rushing out door to get to engagement (but did nothing about it except hobble and moan)so hobbled to British Association of Social Workers conference where they had invited me onto a panel to talk about my experiences during Baby P. What was lovely was the amount of social workers who came up to me and thanked me for what I said. I was really pleased – for during the whole Baby Peter tragedy I was very careful to refer to the need for proper support for social workers – and to point to what happened in the Victoria Climbie case. In that case the only person to take the blame was the social worker on the end of the food chain. It was the Labour leadership and chief officers and managers who all got away completely from any consequences – actually it was that that motivated me to speak out when Baby Peter died. I wasn’t going to see another tragedy blamed on the social workers.
But I think it was also what I was saying about the need for an open and transparent culture, about the job being about trusting social workers to use their instincts and critical faculties rather than ticking boxes – and outside of case load reduction – perhaps the main drum I bang is the way that the pendulum has swung far too far towards management holding sway regardless of professional and clinical opinion.
I hobble on to the Spectator Annual Awards where strangely Harriet Harman and Peter Mandelson won the main awards. Was it an ironic parting gift to those who would not be in power by the next time the awards come around?
After that, I gave up and came home and put ice packs on my foot and laid down for the evening. I managed to do my advice surgery this morning at Hornsey Library – but then decided I couldn’t go on. I had to reschedule my Big Lottery Tour this afternoon (as I really can’t walk) so went to the Whittington and then came home. Hoping for tea and sympathy from my children…………………….