There are lessons to be learned from Birmingham Council’s treatment
of the two social workers criticised in the Toni-Ann Byfield
First, not every social worker criticised in an inquiry or serious
case review deserves to lose his or her job.
More importantly, when formal personnel procedures are invoked – as
they must be – staff who have been named in high-profile inquiries
may need specific forms of support. This is not special treatment.
It recognises the additional pressures that come from being
identified in public with the tragic death of a child.
In future cases, such workers will be answerable to their
professional council – and so should their employers be. The
employers’ code of conduct should include measures relating to
staff who are publicly criticised in relation to high profile
cases, compelling employers to offer support, monitoring and
supervision to these staff. Sadly, there are plenty of care
professionals who could advise from personal experience on what is