The impact of the Baby Peter episode on Section 31 applications

Client: LGA | NFER Contact: Shona MacLeod

Following the death of ‘Baby Peter’, the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families commissioned Lord Laming to provide an urgent report on the progress being made across the country to implement effective arrangements for safeguarding children. In response to this, the Government published an action plan outlining how all of central Government will work together with local government and front line services to drive forward reform of child protection services across England. The LGA commissioned this research to provide the local authority perspective on the impact (both short and longer term) of the Baby Peter case, specifically on Section 31 applications and, more generally, on child protection post Laming Review.  Related to this study is the research which the Children and Family Court Advisory Support Service (Cafcass) undertook with professionals in family courts to investigate the possible effect of Baby Peter publicity on care demand.  The outputs of both these research studies were published simultaneously.

The research involved an online survey of Directors of Children’s Services in all 152 local authorities in England and in-depth case-study work in up to six local authorities. The report is of interest to the LGA CYP Board, LGA policy colleagues, other members of the LG Group, Directors of Children’s Services and DCSF officials.

Time scale:  August 2009 – June 2010

NFER Project Code:  BPI

Research reports/findings