Posts Tagged 'Baby P'

World Social Work Day 2015 #WSWD2015: WIN a Policy Press Social Work book of your choice…


Jessica Miles, Marketing Executive

Today is World Social Work Day and you can follow all the actions and events happening around the world using the hashtag #WSWD2015. This year’s theme is ‘Promoting the Dignity and Worth of Peoples’, something we hope we contribute to, at least in a small way, here at Policy Press.

To celebrate we thought it would be great to find out from you which Policy Press social work title from recent years you’ve most enjoyed. In fact if you email us here with your favourite book and a bit about why you liked it so much, we’ll enter you into our prize draw to win a Policy Press Social Work title of your choice! Just mark your email ‘Happy World Social Work day‘ and send it to us by 5pm on Friday 20th March.

According to our data crunchers our top five best sellers over the past few years are:

The story of Baby PThe story of Baby P: Setting the record straight

by Ray Jones

The first book to tell what happened to ‘Baby P’, how the story was told by the media and its considerable impact on the child protection system in England.


Re-imagining child protection [FC]Re-imagining child protection: Towards humane social work with families

by Brid Featherstone, Susan White and Kate Morris

This important book challenges the current child protection culture and calls for family-minded humane practice where children are understood as relational beings, parents are recognized as people with needs and hopes and families as carrying extraordinary capacities for care and protection.

Understanding research for social policy and social work_2nd edn [FC]Understanding research for social policy and social work (2nd edition): Themes, methods and approaches

Edited by Saul Becker, Alan Bryman and Harry Ferguson

This acclaimed international textbook combines theoretical and applied discussions and case examples to provide an essential guide to research methods, approaches and debates.

The short guide to social work [FC]The short guide to social work

by Robert Adams

This one-stop text for new and prospective social work students is easy to read and full of essential information and practical advice about what is needed to qualify and practice in social work.

Communicating with children and young people [FC]Communicating with children and young people: Making a difference

by Michelle Lefevre

This timely book prepares social workers and other practitioners for the challenge of engaging directly with children and young people in order to make a difference to their lives.


We’ll also add you to our mailing list so you can be first to know about all our new Social Work books – please do let us know if you’d prefer not to receive these mails but don’t let that stop you from entering the draw! All entries must be entitled ‘Happy World Social Work day‘, emailed to and received before 5pm on Friday 20th March. The winner will be announced in our newsletter at the end of this month.

We also publish the journal, Critical and Radical Social Work… find out more here.

All these books are, of course, available to buy on our website. Find out more about these and our other titles in social work here. Don’t forget, if you’re a subscriber to the PP newsletter you get 35% discount on all our titles if you order on our website.

Don’t feel left out if you’re not a subscriber – click here to sign up now! We promise never to let anyone else have your details and we’ll only send you two newsletters a month, keeping you up to date with latest title information, special offers, free journal articles and forthcoming events.

Happy World Social Work Day!

Our thanks to our Marketing Executive Jessica Miles, who specialises in Social Work as one of her subject areas, for writing this post. You can follow Jessica on twitter here: @TPPjess

7 questions to ask when watching tonight’s ‘Baby P’ documentary

Former Director of Social Services, academic and Policy Press author Professor Ray Jones expresses his hopes that tonight’s BBC documentary Baby P: The untold story will give an accurate account of events leading up to and surrounding the death of Baby P. His ‘7 questions to ask when watching tonights ‘Baby P’ documentary’ offers a unique measurement system by which we can judge the material presented.


Ray Jones, author of 'The story of Baby P: Setting the record straight'

Ray Jones, author of ‘The story of Baby P: Setting the record straight’

Tonight the BBC are broadcasting a documentary about how the terrible death of 17 month old Peter Connelly was turned by the media into a story about a little child who became known as ‘Baby P’. Social workers and their managers were blamed and vilified for his death, with Rebekah Brooks and The Sun at the forefront of the vicious and personalised attacks on the social workers.

From September 2012 I provided briefings and information over 18 months to the makers of the BBC film, including the first full draft of ‘The Story of Baby P: Setting the Record Straight’, which was published in July.

I have not seen the film, and do not know what editorial approach has been taken by the film makers. But here are my hopes, and some measures against which the film might be judged.

1. Is it recognised in the film that Peter Connelly was a neglected child but that he and the Connelly family were not neglected by social workers? Given what the social workers knew at the time they worked diligently to improve his care and monitor his well-being. It does seem that neglect turned to vicious abuse only in the days immediately before Peter died, but this would never been known from how the story had been told to date.

2. Does the film record that when the social workers sought legal advice about whether the grounds for care proceedings were met there were significant issues about the competence and experience of the legal advisor and the advice that the grounds were not met, and in the management of Haringey Council’s legal services?

3. Will the film report the considerable concerns about the police involvement with Peter and his family before Peter died, and how the police worked with and briefed the media, including the BBC, so that the focus was turned away from the police and centred instead on the social workers?

4: Will the concerns about Great Ormond Street Hospital’s senior managers in ensuring a safe and secure community paediatric service in Haringey be given attention?

5. Will the part played by Ofsted and by the second government-required serious case review be reviewed as both legitimised and reinforced the media’s blame of social workers for Peter’s death?

6. Will the behaviour of Mr Cameron, Mr Balls and other politicians receive comment as they tucked in behind the media’s vilification of social workers and combined to deliver the sackings of social workers and their managers, with a Director of Children’s Services, Sharon Shoesmith, later found by the High Court to have been scapegoated following The Sun’s so-called ‘Campaign for Justice’?

7. Will the film note the terrible impact on the child protection system in England, and therefore on the safety and welfare of children, which quickly became over-loaded following the media’s shaping of the ‘Baby P’ story, and with child protection services at breaking point? The Coalition Government, with no opposition from Labour, is now arguing for and allowing the marketisation and privatisation of child protection investigations and assessments.

There are high hopes that tonight’s documentary will play a major part in correcting what has been told about the awful death of Peter Connelly, about the part played by those who worked to protect children, and how the ‘Baby P’ story came to be mis-shaped to target social workers.

If the film addresses all or most of the points above it will be a considerable credit to the programme makers and a major contribution to correcting a story which has to date largely left the public misinformed.


Professor Ray Jones is the author of ‘The Story of Baby P: Setting the Record Straight’, and Professor of Social Work at Kingston University and St George’s, University of London. A registered social worker, for 14 years he was a Director of Social Services. He has been chair of the British Association of Social Workers and chief executive of the Social Care Institute for Excellence. A frequent media commentator, he oversees child protection in several areas and has written several books and numerous papers on social work and social policy. 

Other blogs by the same author:

Who protects the protectors? Social workers still ravaged by Baby P media storm

Related links:

Seven years on, why is the Baby P case still making headlines? The Guardian article by Harry Ferguson 

The views and opinions expressed on this blog site are solely those of the original blogpost authors and other contributors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the Policy Press and/or any/all contributors to this site.

Who protects the protectors? Social workers still ravaged by Baby P media storm

Dr Ray Jones

Guest blogger Ray Jones’ book, ‘The Story of Baby P – Setting the record straight‘ publishes today.  

Ray shares his thoughts on the impact that the media coverage of the ‘Baby P’ case had, and continues to have, on social workers.


The ‘early’ release of Jason Owen, convicted for being involved in the death of ‘Baby P’ in 2007, gave the tabloid newspapers a fresh moment of outrage this weekend.

When a little boy dies following horrific abuse from the adults in his household, disbelief and outrage are indeed quite natural human responses. ‘Baby P’, Peter Connelly, was just 17 months old when he died. In November 2009 his mother, her boyfriend, and Jason Owen, the boyfriend’s brother, were each convicted of ‘causing or allowing’ his death.

However the ramifications of the media storm that erupted following these convictions are still being felt in social work circles today.

‘Campaign for justice’

In November 2009 the Sun newspaper and its then editor, Rebekah Brooks, launched a ‘campaign for justice’. The campaign was not about improving and better resourcing child protection services. It was not about tougher sentences for those who abuse children. Instead, it demanded the summary sackings of social workers and their managers, and also of a paediatrician. Police officers who unsuccessfully undertook two prior criminal investigations into Peter’s previous injuries were, however, largely left out of how the story was told, as were the NHS managers who oversaw a paediatric service which was itself in trouble.

The Leveson Inquiry and the recent phone hacking trial have since revealed the powerful networks of relationships between the press, politicians and the police. These powerful relationships, and relationships of power, explicitly and implicitly came into play in how the ‘Baby P’ story was shaped and told.

One person in particular, the Director of Children’s Services in Haringey, became central to the Sun’s vilification and vengeance. Sharon Shoesmith, with the Connelly family’s social workers and their managers, was denigrated and demonised and threatened and traumatised.

The impact of the media’s targeting of those who worked to protect children was, however, much wider than its impact on individuals. In Haringey, and elsewhere, it became difficult to recruit and retain social workers and health visitors to work with children and families and it was difficult to get doctors to work in community paediatric services. So, fewer workers and a less stable workforce.

This created a child protection system which was, and still is, under tremendous pressure

There was also a dramatic surge in the number of child protection concerns passed to those still working at the sharp-end of child protection services. This created a child protection system which was, and still is, under tremendous pressure.

Since the death of ‘Baby P’ and the conviction of his killers, both the former Labour Government and the current Coalition Government have instigated reviews such as the Social Work Task Force and the Munro Review.  Neither has led to major new legislation. Neither promoted more procedures and regulations to standardise practice.

Away from the media spotlight, these reviews were able to give balanced recommendations that called for more professional space and greater recognition for the job of social workers. However, it is now the Government’s intention that child protection be opened up to the market place, and to companies like G4S and Serco, with more fragmentation and instability.

Who knows what impact yesterday’s Cabinet reshuffle will have on the outcome of these government intentions.  Who knows when there will be the next media frenzy allocating blame and shame when a child is abused and killed, with vilification and vengeance focused on social workers.

Given the failure so far of the political response to the Leveson Inquiry recommendations to implement a robust system of checks and balances on the media pack, it remains to be seen whether politicians will find within themselves the necessary commitment and courage in the future to confront the media in their heady enthusiasm to identify and oust the latest social worker targeted in a ‘witch hunt’.

Bookshop display Baby PDr Ray Jones is a registered social worker and professor of social work at Kingston University and St George’s, University of London. From 1992-2006 he was director of social services in Wiltshire. He currently oversees child protection in several areas of England previously rated by Ofsted as ‘inadequate’. His book. ‘The Story of Baby P: Setting the Record Straight’, has just been published by Policy Press and can be purchased at a discounted rate from our website.

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