Norfolk social services admits `crucial mistakes`

director of Norfolk social services, David Wright, is to write to the Climbie
inquiry head Lord Laming and ask him to examine the particular stresses faced
by individual social workers which may lead to errors.

has admitted ‘crucial mistakes’ which, if avoided, could have saved Lauren
Wright from death at the hands of her stepmother.

described a number of ‘human errors’ made by his staff which sealed Lauren’s
fate.  But he added that his departments
were ‘stretched to the point of transparency.’

told a press conference this week: ‘Had we followed the correct procedures
which were already in place, Lauren would be alive today.’

said social workers had failed to act on a second anonymous phone call alerting
them to the child’s plight.

the warnings from Hertfordshire social workers, who contacted their Norfolk
counterparts about Lauren just ten days before she died, were not acted upon,
he said.

third crucial mistake was a failure to convene a meeting before Lauren’s death
of all agencies involved in the case.

this occurred at an early stage conflicting information could have been
directly evaluated and a risk assessment formulated,’ said a Norfolk Area Child
Protection Committee report.

said: ‘These decisions were wrong and led to absolutely dreadful
consequences…nobody feels worse about that than we do…We are desperately
sorry that we let Lauren down.’

said his staff were often subject to verbal and physical attacks and were
facing an ever-increasing load of child protection cases.

such circumstances is it really so surprising that mistakes are made from time
to time. The truth is that all social workers feel dreadfully bad when these
mistakes happen and we are dreadfully sorry for what happened.’

said his staff had become ‘battle weary’ and their judgement liable to be

the western division of Norfolk social services where Lauren Wright lived, less
than half the posts for social workers were filled at the time of the girl’s

social services is currently being restructured to take in lessons learned from
the Lauren Wright case. Managers have emphasised the need for better
communication between various caring agencies.

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