Topics: Press Coverage regarding Lisa Arthurworrey Social Worker to Victoria Climbie

Summary of some of the press response to Lisa Arthurworry’s role as social worker for Victoria Climbie:

The following two articles raised some questions about Lisa’s situation and stood out among other more negative reporting between 2000 and September 2004

1) 23rd January 2001: Evening Standard: Eileen Fairweather

The social worker who should have saved little Anna is distraught, has lost 2 stone and can’t sleep but was it all her fault?
Raised issues of management, supervision, restructuring and the role of other agencies re. the medical fax and the scabies issue.

2) 16th February 2002: Daily Mail: Jo-Ann Goodwin

Killed by anti-racism
Arthurworrey had never carried out a full investigation, not held a case conference, nor overseen a case working with police…

The two ten minute interviews on Today programme took 4 months to prepare working with Angus Stickler and Lisa Arthurworrey

September 1st and 2nd 2004: Today programme:
Angus Stickler interviews with Lisa Arthurworrey (

Subsequent headlines were mainly factual reporting.

Lisa Arthurworrey appealing against decision to sack her and to place her on POCA
Arthurworrey condemns poor supervision and flaws that led to tragedy
Child cruelty and accountability – of superiors ‘ only lowly officials like Lisa lost their jobs’
Climbié social worker to appeal
Climbié social worker admits mistakes
Climbié care worker appeal queries justice of POCA listing
Climbié social worker to challenge sacking
Shamed experts who failed tragic Victoria are still in top jobs.
Shame of Climbié council
Climbié council hired 18 criminals
Bullying policy for Haringey

3rd September; Evening Standard editorial

Her appeal funded by the taxpayer should be slung out . She shows no sense of personal responsibility for the sins of omission which led to Victoria Climbié’s death
This editorial contrasted with more supportive reports in the same paper

3rd September: Guardian: David Batty

The Blame Game
(Laming) concluded that Ms Arthurworrey had made many and serious mistakes. These mistakes seem due to a lack of common sense rather than inadequate guidance and supervision
During the public inquiry she admitted that she had only spent 30 minutes with Victoria. Furthermore she accepted the word of the child’s abusers…
The fact that these senior managers’ careers flourished despite their responsibility to Victoria’s suffering is not a reason to absolve Ms Arthurworrey of blame.
Ms Arthurworrey complains that her life has been wrecked and her career lies in ruins. ‘I don’t see a future’ she told the BBC. But perhaps she should consider that for Victoria the stakes were much higher.

3rd September: The Voice

The parents of murdered Victoria Climbié have spoken of their outrage that the social worker, who failed to protect their little girl, wants her job back.

23rd September: Community Care: Yasmin Alibhai Brown

I listened on the radio to Lisa Arthurworrey … and I found myself incandescent, unable or unwilling to hear her side of the story – a reaction that was grossly unfair.

6th September: Evening Standard: Liz Davies

I believe in Lisa. I have no doubt whatsoever about her abilities. If I were a team manager I would employ her any day.

9th September: Community Care: Yvonne Roberts

‘But’ is no excuse for not getting it right
God help other children if investigations are conducted on the basis of what evidence is legible.
The average member of the public is bound to believe that common sense dictates that 19 pages of medical evidence have to flag several reasons not to be cheerful about the outcome for a child

9-15 September: Community Care

Ann Bristow – it is a serious step to place a professional on the POCA list who has not directly abused a child.

Community Care poll mainly supportive of Lisa

October 4th – 8th 2004 Employment Tribunal hearing

Ms L Arthurworrey and London Borough of Haringey
London Central. Case 2205868/2002. Judgment 08.12.2004
8th October 2004: Decision of Employment Tribunal to uphold decision of London Borough of Haringey to dismiss Lisa Arthurworrey on the grounds of gross misconduct.
Based on a report by Bernard Monaghan the six charges which led to the Haringey case of dismissal on the grounds of gross misconduct were:

1. Failed to call an initial child protection case conference as required by the strategy meeting of 5th November 1999
2. Failed to conduct enquiry under sect 47 as required by the strategy meeting of 5th November 1999
3. Failed to evaluate and give proper attention to the information she received.
4. Failed to adequately prepare and conduct the interview with Victoria Climbié on 6th August 1999 in a manner conducive to provide accurate and complete information.
5. Failed to ensure that the best interests of Victoria Climbié were met by her receiving education
6. Failed to make reasonable use of the good practice guidance available to her in the child protection procedures and the initial assessment form CF.

Two other charges had been rejected earlier on appeal.
• Failure to communicate with and to discuss the outcome of the section 47 inquiry with Dr Rossiter
• Failure to properly read and evaluate the Central Middlesex Hospital fax of the 2nd August 1999

Subsequent coverage mainly factual.

Junior worker became scapegoat
My bosses made me a scapegoat over Victorias murder
I was a scapegoat claims worker sacked over Climbié case
Director intervened in Haringey inquiry (Monaghan report limited to exclude senior staff at Bristow’s request)
Arthurworrey says she is scapegoat
Union blames lack of training after tribunal.
Climbié social worker loses appeal
Climbié social workers ‘made a scapegoat’
Climbié social worker appeals against dismissal
Climbié social workers ignored guidelines
Social services staff ‘escaped responsibility‘ for Climbié scandal

5th October: Evening Standard: Amanda Platt
Haringey Land of Blame. .. to clear her name for the most venal of reasons – hard cash. Yes. Ms Arthurworrey wants compensation.

14th October: Hornsey Journal
Climbié case social worker loses claim for ‘ unfair sacking’- No winners says council. ‘Even though the tribunal has found our decision to dismiss Lisa Arthurworrey for gross misconduct was fair, there can be no winner here today’ Councillor Kate Wynne

October 2004: Liz Davies: The Whistle Freedom to Care. No 24

The Case FOR Lisa Arthurworrey.

1st May 2005 Statement from Liverpool John Moores University lecturers , tutors and social workers

Observations on Lisa Arthurworrey’s Appeal against her inclusion on the Protection of Children Act List;
Lisa Arthurworrey is a victim of a failing managerial system. Omissions and incomplete assessments made by her were the result of a chain of systemic professional and managerial failures which are invisibly endemic in Children and Families social work. An individual cannot take responsibility for organisational failure…..

23rd -27th May 2005: Care Standards Tribunal Hearing.
Lisa Arthurworrey v Secretary of State for Education and Skills (2004) 355.PC
11 particulars of misconduct presented by Secretary of State’s counsel Mr Coppel
Appeal against the inclusion of Lisa Arthurworrey’s name on the Protection Of Children Act List by the Secretary of State, DfES.
Appeal upheld – no findings of misconduct. ‘ Ms Arthurworrey is today suitable to work with children’.

No media interest at this tribunal other than Community Care reporter at the beginning. Coverage in Community Care minimal
‘Arthurworrey insists she is suitable to work with children’.

25th May 2005 BASW AGM motion passed unanimously
This AGM calls for a review of the use of the Protection of Children Act (POCA) with the implementation of registration and regulation of the social care workforce. Competency issues should exclusively be dealt with by the Care Councils and the remit of the POCA needs to be more narrowly defined in relation to individuals deemed to pose a risk to children. BASW condemns the differential use of the list in respect of other professional groups in a recent high profile case’

8th June: Press release from Haringey Council
‘We are surprised that the Secretary of State’s decision has been overturned, as the Laming Enquiry, Haringey Council and an Employment tribunal ALL found serious weaknesses in Ms Arthurworrey’s professional conduct that contributed to the failure to safeguard Victoria. It must be remembered that when Ms Arthurworrey was allocated Victoria’s case she was a fully qualified social worker who had previously worked in another large London Borough and had 18 months post-qualification experience. ‘

9th June 2005 Angus Stickler Today programme. Interview with Lisa Arthurworrey

9th June 2005 Liz Davies. Guardian online comment.
The Right Decision.

9th June Black Information Link. Shirin Aguiar
Climbié scapegoat social worker cleared.
‘A social worker scapegoated over the horrific child murder of Victoria Climbié has been cleared. But senior council officials who ran a chaotic social services department remain unpunished. ‘

9th June Care and health online
Climbié ruling highlights problems say campaigners. Liz Davies comment.

10th June The Victoria Climbié Foundation press statement supportive of the Tribunal decision on behalf of Victoria’s parents.
. ‘The Foundation now calls upon the government to punish those senior managers and councillors who were responsible at the time for the chaos that passed for social care in Haringey at the time of Victoria’s murder. Lisa Arthurworrey was simply a convenient scapegoat for senior people to hide their failings behind’

10th June. The Independent.
Climbié parents say council chiefs must face action.

10th June. Helen Weathers. Daily Mail. Exclusive interview with Lisa Arthurworrey .
I’m not the only one to blame.
‘Devastating insight into the near lunatic incompetence that was rife in Haringey Social Services’

10th June: John Arlidge / David Cohen Evening Standard expose.
‘Revealed the woman at the heart of the worst two child abuse cases’ ‘The controversial record of care supremo Mary Richardson.’ Frances and Berthe Climbié state ‘the buck stops with Mary Richardson’
‘Key Climbié social worker can work with children again’ Joe Murphy Evening Standard

‘the care standards tribunal has reminded us that at the time of the case was impossible for Ms Arthurworrey to do her job.’

10th June: John Carvel. The Guardian
‘Social worker in Climbié case wins job fight’

30th June 2005: Community Care: Viewpoint : Liz Davies
Arthurworrey is vindicated.

19th February 2007: Guardian. Diane Taylor
Victoria is always there. She never goes away.. When Victoria Climbié was murdered, her social worker’s world ended. Seven years on, she still feels like she’s living in a prison cell. Exclusive interview with Lisa Arthurworrey

March 2008 : Care Standards Tribunal hearing. Lisa Arthurworrey appealed against the decision of the General Social Care Council not to accept her registration as a social worker.

7th March 2008: Community Care. Sally Gillen
I live with Victoria inside my head. Climbié social worker says she was ‘crushed’ by system.

13th March 2008. Community Care. Sally Gillen
Arthurworrey tells tribunal of death threats and insults.

20th March 2008: Community Care. Sally Gillen
Arthurworrey disputes GSCC claim over supervisory input.

2nd June 2008: Decision of Care Standards Tribunal

4th June 2008: Community Care: Sally Gillen
Arthurworrey allowed to register but with conditions.

6th June 2008 : BBC news
Climbié social worker wins appeal.

6th June 2008 : BBC news
Climbié parents back worker move. The parents of Victoria Climbié have welcomed the decision to overturn a ban on her social worker being allowed to work with children.

12th June 2008: Community Care. Sally Gillen
Arthurworrey won case despite not because of her representation.

14th June 2008: Mail on Sunday. Eileen Fairweather
I don’t dream about murdered Victoria Climbié . I live with her every day , says social worker who became a scapegoat. Exclusive interview with Lisa Arthurworrey

11th December 2008: Daily Mail: Helen Weathers
Why Baby P never stood a chance – by the social worker blamed for the death of Victoria Climbié. Exclusive interview with Lisa Arthurworrey.

10th March 2010: Community Care article. Liz Davies.
Victoria Climbie’s social worker failed by system. Lisa Arthurworrey is registered as a social worker by the General Social Care Council subject to conditions.