Herbert Laming, Baron Laming

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The Right Honourable
The Lord Laming
Convenor of the Crossbench Peers
Assumed office
5 September 2011
Preceded by Baroness D'Souza
Member of the House of Lords
Assumed office
Personal details
Born (1936-07-19) 19 July 1936 (age 78)
Newcastle upon Tyne
Political party Crossbench
Committees Procedure Committee (2011–present)
Selection (2011–present)
Privileges (2011–present)
House (2011–present)
Liaison (2011–present)
Administration and Works (2011–present)[1]

William Herbert Laming, Baron Laming, CBE PC (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.[2]

Early life[edit]

Born in Newcastle upon Tyne, Laming studied Applied Social Studies at Durham University in 1960.[3]

Social work[edit]

He worked as a probation officer[3] and psychiatric social worker in Nottingham, before moving to Hertfordshire County Council in 1971, becoming director of social services in 1975.

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.[4]

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.[5] He is involved with many social services organisations.

In 1985, he was made a Commander of the British Empire.[6] He was knighted in 1996[7] and was created a life peer on 27 July 1998 as Baron Laming, of Tewin in the county of Hertfordshire.[8] In 1999, he was given an honorary Doctor of Science by his old university, Durham.[9]

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.[10][11] In the same year, he also investigated management in the prison service.[12]

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".[4] 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".[13] His final report was published on 28 February 2003,[14] 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.[15] 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.

In June 2011, Lord Laming was elected Convenor of the Crossbench Peers in the House of Lords.[2] He became a member of the Privy Council in June 2014.[16]

Offices held[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Barroness D'Souza
Convenor of the Crossbench Peers Incumbent


  1. ^ "Baroness D'Souza". UK Parliament. Retrieved 6 July 2008. 
  2. ^ a b "Lord Laming to Take Office as Convenor of the Crossbench Peers in September 2011" (PDF). Convenor Election Supervisors. 29 June 2011. 
  3. ^ a b "Lord Laming: Renowned Social Worker". Telegraph. 12 March 2009. Retrieved 22 April 2012. 
  4. ^ a b Verkaik, Robert, "Head of Anna Climbie inquiry ran department that failed to protect", The Independent (via findarticles.com), 20 January 2001. Retrieved on 3 July 2007.
  5. ^ "Laming inquiry team announced", Department of Health, 10 March 2000. Retrieved on 3 July 2007.
  6. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 50154. p. 8. 15 June 1985.
  7. ^ The London Gazette: no. 54663. p. 1095. 28 January 1997.
  8. ^ The London Gazette: no. 55213. p. 8430. 3 August 1998.
  9. ^ "Honorary degrees for six – but Dr Mowlam has to postpone", Durham University, 28 June 1999. Retrieved on 3 July 2007.
  10. ^ Background to the Inquiry, The Harold Shipman Inquiry. Retrieved on 3 July 2007.
  11. ^ Herbert, Ian, "Shipman inquiry will be in public, Milburn accepts", The Independent (via findarticles.com), 22 September 2000, Retrieved on 3 July 2007.
  12. ^ Lord Laming, "Modernising the Management of the Prison Service: An Independent Report by the Targeted Performance Initiative Working Group" PDF (2.79 MiB), 2000. Retrieved on 3 July 2007.
  13. ^ "Climbié inquiry chief under fire", The Guardian, 19 January 2001. Retrieved on 3 July 2007.
  14. ^ "Victoria Climbié Report Calls for Radical Change in the Management of Public Services for Children and Families", 28 January 2003; Report of an Inquiry PDF (1.74 MiB), 28 January 2003. The Victoria Climbié Inquiry. Retrieved on 3 July 2007.
  15. ^ "Men Found Guilty in Baby's Death". BBC News. 11 November 2008. 
  16. ^ "Privy Council appointment: Lord Laming". HM Government. 17 June 2014. 

External links[edit]