Herbert Laming, Baron Laming
|The Right Honourable
The Lord Laming
|Convenor of the Crossbench Peers|
5 September 2011
|Preceded by||Baroness D'Souza|
|Member of the House of Lords|
|Born||19 July 1936|
|Committees||Procedure Committee (2011–present)
Administration and Works (2011–present)
William Herbert Laming, Baron Laming, CBE (born 19 July 1936) is a British social worker and Crossbench Peer in the House of Lords. On 29 June 2011, it was announced that he had been elected to succeed Baroness D'Souza as Convenor of the Crossbench Peers; he took up the post in September 2011 when the House returned from its summer recess.
In 1990, his department was strongly criticised for its handling of a case that centred on allegations made to Hertfordshire social services by the father of a young girl who was concerned that his daughter was being sexually abused by her mother's boyfriend. The child was interviewed in front of her mother, a violation of official guidelines. Police and social services performed an overnight raid on his house and took his daughter to her mother and her mother's boyfriend. Laming denied him access to an internal inquiry report. In 1995, the local government ombudsman made a finding of 'maladministration with injustice' against the department.
He was chief inspector of the social services inspectorate from 1991 until 1998. He has worked as an advisor to the Local Government Association, and is a past President of the Association of Directors of Social Services. He is involved with many social services organisations.
In 1985, he was made a Commander of the British Empire. He was knighted in 1996 and was created a life peer on 27 July 1998 as Baron Laming, of Tewin in the county of Hertfordshire. In 1999, he was given an honorary Doctor of Science by his old university, Durham.
In 2000, he was appointed head of the Harold Shipman inquiry, originally a private inquiry. However, relatives of Shipman's victims wanted a public inquiry, and they won a judicial review, forcing the inquiry to become public. Dame Janet Smith replaced Laming as the chairman. In the same year, he also investigated management in the prison service.
In 2001, he chaired the public inquiry into eight-year-old Victoria Climbié's death. Laming's appointment was controversial because of his previous post as head of Hertfordshire county council's social services department. The father of the daughter in the Hertfordshire case said, "I don't see how he has the qualifications or experience to be able to lead an investigation into another borough which has been failing to protect a child in exactly the same manner that his own authority failed to protect a child in 1990". Liberal Democrat spokesman Paul Burstow said, "the findings of the ombudsman in the Hertfordshire case must give rise to questions about Lord Laming's appointment to head this inquiry"; and Conservative Party spokesman Liam Fox said, "I think the government maybe should have thought twice about this and maybe, even yet, they will think again". The Department for Health, however, said that they were "fully confident that he is the right person to conduct the inquiry". His final report was published on 28 February 2003, and led to many child protection reforms. The report led to the formation of the Every Child Matters programme, a framework to improve the lives of children; the introduction of the Children Act 2004, an Act of Parliament that provides the legislative base for many of the reforms; the creation of ContactPoint, a database that will hold information on all children in England and Wales; and the creation of the post of children's commissioner, to co-ordinate efforts to improve child protection.
Lord Laming was appointed in November 2008 to investigate Britain's social services on a national basis following the death of Baby P. The subject caused heated arguments in the House of Commons between Gordon Brown and David Cameron forcing the Commons Speaker to intervene on a number of occasions to restore order.
|Parliament of the United Kingdom|
|Convenor of the Crossbench Peers||Incumbent|
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- Lord Laming, PDF (2.79 MiB), 2000. Retrieved on 3 July 2007.
- "Climbié inquiry chief under fire", The Guardian, 19 January 2001. Retrieved on 3 July 2007.
- "Victoria Climbié Report Calls for Radical Change in the Management of Public Services for Children and Families", 28 January 2003; PDF (1.74 MiB), 28 January 2003. The Victoria Climbié Inquiry. Retrieved on 3 July 2007.
- "Men Found Guilty in Baby's Death". BBC News. 11 November 2008.